North Caddo football fans shouldn’t get confused if two-way starter Cain Tyson forgets his place and heads over to the sideline to retrieve some water bottles for his teammates.
Just like Adam Sandler’s character, Bobby Boucher, in the 1998 comedy “The Waterboy,” Tyson begin his career in Vivian as a waterboy for the football team due to a close relationship with his mother, Chirsti, a former North Caddo math teacher.
During coach Jerry Byrd’s first tenure at the school (2003-05), the then 9-year-old would hang out with the football team while his mother completed her after-school duties. He delivered water, chased down loose footballs and cheered for the guys he hoped one day to emulate.
Fast forward nearly a decade and Tyson isn’t expected to handle managerial-type duties anymore. He’ll start under center and at linebacker when the Rebels open their senior campaign with their annual grudge match with Northwood on Aug. 31.
“In my three years at North Caddo, we’ve never beaten Northwood, so I really hope to beat’em in my senior year,” Tyson said. “We are really focused on that first game and taking all of them one game at a time.”
Tyson is excited to be reunited with the coach he once watched lead North Caddo to a 19-13 record and into the state playoffs in his earlier tenure in Vivian.
“When he was here, I always told coach Byrd I would play for him one day,” Tyson said. “But when he left, I said ‘I guess I won’t get to.’ Now that he’s back, it’s a pretty good feeling to see it finally happen.”
Byrd said he remembers the quarterback from his inaugural camp, along with about 15 other area athletes, back in 2003.
“It’s really a neat deal to now get to coach him in his senior year. It’s also neat for him to have gone through a coaching change in the summer of his senior season to have me come back,” Byrd said. “Great kid. Great leader. Probably the best leader on the team. I don’t know how many touchdowns he’ll score, but I know his leadership this summer and going through the transition has set an example during the transition.”
Tyson, who carries a 3.2 GPA, will likely share time under center with Jontavion Brooks, giving the Rebels a dynamic, double-edged sword to run Byrd’s spread offensive set. Tyson said his team is getting comfortable with the offense and should be aided by the athletes at his disposal.
“We have all kinds of athletes all over the field. We got Curtis Brown, a speedster. We got Alton Clay, a bigger receiver. Him and Curtis are D-I prospects,” he said. “We got Caleb Washington and he’s an amazing wide receiver. And we got Lagarion Taylor another speedster and amazing wide receiver.”
Tyson also said junior running back Erin Smith should compliment his efforts in the backfield.
“With all them boys, and our line … we might be a little small, but we get it. We ain’t scared of nothing. We get after it,” he said. “I believe with all that we’re gonna be able to do the things we do.”
At 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, Tyson isn’t the largest linebacker, but he said it hasn’t been a problem.
“I don’t play with my size, I play with my emotions… my heart … my will to do things,” he said. “I know if I mess up, my team will be right there for me.”
Tyson, who also plays soccer and baseball for the Rebels, started the Lakeview and Mansfield games at quarterback last season after Jake Brown received a concussion during the homecoming game.
Connect with Jimmy Watson on Twitter at @JimmyWatson6