NEW PALESTINE — Forty players showed up last August for a tryout at the Missouri State University athletic complex, hoping to earn a walk-on spot with the football program.
Two players made the team. Austin Cahoy was one of them, to the surprise of no one who has ever met the former New Palestine running back.
“I knew he was a kid who was going to work hard and develop,” said Tim Able, the head coach for Cahoy and the Dragons through 2011. “He had the work ethic that every college coach wants, and had a good upside because of that.
“He was one of those kids that did what was asked, and them some. He’s an ‘and then some’ kid. He was just always looking for an extra edge.”
As Cahoy was compiling a 1,000-yard season as the Dragons’ senior fullback in the fall of 2010, he would often complete the team’s regular practice or weight-lifting session, then head to Family Fun and Fitness for yet another workout. A few weeks ago, Cahoy was home on spring break and looking for a place to workout. Able, now the head coach at Triton Central, invited the 6-foot, 225-pound fireplug to use the Fairland school’s weight room. And it was just like old times.
“He’s continuing to up the ante,” Able said. “He’s working above and beyond what even the college guys expect out of him. So, not a surprise he’s having success (at Missouri State).”
At over five yards per carry, Cahoy was the leading rusher in the first official spring scrimmage on Saturday for Missouri State, which competes in Football Championship Series Division I, one notch below the Football Bowl Subdivision. Indiana State is among the Bears’ FCS Division I competitors in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Cahoy finished with 36 yards on seven carries — both team highs — Saturday, and he’ll get a chance to prove himself even more leading up to the Bears’ annual Maroon and White Game on April 20 on the Springfield, Mo., campus.
“Coaches love my downhill, hard-nose, physical type of running,” Cahoy said. “The players love it and get excited when my name gets called to go in. Gets people fired up.”