Wiley Cain overcomes injury, makes mark as varsity starter


Wiley Cain has a knack for overcoming obstacles.
The first one came at the start of the season at Pulaski County High School in Somerset, Kentucky.
Only a sophomore, Cain was the Maroons’ starting varsity quarterback in the first game of the season. He had the challenging task of taking over for Riley Hall, a prolific high school performer who is now playing football at Georgetown College.
“Riley was definitely the best quarterback that ever played at our school, and he’s probably one of the best that ever played in the state,” Cain said. “I learned a lot from him.”
In Pulaski County’s first game of the season, Cain was hit in the third quarter and he suffered a broken collarbone. “I went to Alabama and had surgery,” Cain said. “It was six week of recovery.”
Injuries are part of football, and Cain understands that. But that didn’t make the recovery process any easier.
“It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve gone through,” he said. “I would stand there on the sidelines every week, and it got harder several weeks in because about three weeks into the recovery process, I didn’t have to wear my sling anymore. I could move my arm and felt pretty good but wasn’t able to play. It was really, really hard to stand there and watch as your team goes out there and plays without you when you feel like you can do it.”

Back in business

Cain was facing an obstacle, no doubt about it, but he was able to rise above it.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder is healthy now, returning to the Maroons’ huddle on Oct. 8. In his first game back, Cain passed for 218 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 60-31 win over Lincoln County High School.
“I felt pretty good the first game back,” he said. “The offensive line did a great job giving me time to throw and protecting me.”
Even after missing six weeks with the collarbone injury, Cain never missed a beat when it came to running the Pulaski County offense.
Not only has he been training with NFA for almost nine years, he comes from a respected football family. His father, Johnny Cain, was a standout high school quarterback who was recruited by Ivy League schools. He wound up accepting a golf scholarship from the University of Kentucy.
Wiley’s grandfather, John Cain, was a legendary football coach at Somerset High School and he guided his team to four state championship games.
“It’s great,” Wiley Cain said. “I grew up around football. I have pictures when I was around five years old wearing a little helmet with my dad coaching me. And my granddad always has those litle tidbits of advice. Sometimes, being a teenager, I might not pay as much attention as I should, but I try to listen to what both of them tell me. My dad and my granddad might be two of the smartest football minds I’ve ever met.”

NFA influence

An extended stretch of training with NFA has also helped Cain become a smart, talented young quarterback.
“NFA has helped me tremendously,” he said. “All of the mechanical problems that might come up, I know how to fix them now. Learning to read coverages has helped me a lot. And I jump right in with my coaches and I’m 10 steps ahead of where they think I am all the time because of the things I’ve learned from NFA.”
Attending his first Duel in July, Cain finished third among incoming 10th graders. “I was really surprised, but not because I didn’t think I could do it,” he said. “The first day there, I did not do very well. My dad said, ‘Go out tomorrow and do what you do.’ I went out and performed really well and I was really happy about it.”


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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University