"It was a frustrating night," said Braxston Cave of his team's 21-20 loss to Merrilville in the state semi-finals. "We missed a field goal towards the end, and that was the end of it. We were up 20-7 right before half and we just kind of let things get away from us. It was just one of those nights."
The Kingsmen started the season 12-0 before falling to Merrillville, and that was the end of Cave's dream.
"It's tough when you work so hard to accomplish something and you fall just short," he said.
Cave also had a rough go of it all season due an injury.
"I think I played good," he said of his senior performance. "I sprained my ankle….that kind of held me back. I still got my job done, but I wasn't at 100 percent. It went pretty good, but that ankle kind of held me back a bit.
"I'm still not 100 percent. It's probably about 80-85 percent right now. I keep working out, and if it gets tweaked a certain way I have a step back. I'm still not quite right with it yet. It's a high ankle sprain."
Like so many other Irish commitments, Cave will now turn his attention to an all-star game.
"I'm playing in the ESPN game," Cave said. "Me and Omar (Hunter) and Jamoris (Slaughter) are all playing in that game. I'm really looking forward to it. I've been lifting and I've been working out with the wrestling team getting in shape.
The future Irish offensive center prospect says he's spoken with both of his future teammates about the game.
"I've talked to both of them," he said. "Both of them are on the opposite team of me. They're really looking forward to it."
The 6-3, 290-pound Cave will get his first crack at playing against the 6-2, 290-pound Hunter in what will be a preview of many battles to come.
"We're going to be going against each other every day in practice when we get to Notre Dame," said Cave. "That should be fun. I'm looking forward to the challenge. I'm sure he'll win one and then I'll win one. I'm sure we'll be talking crap all game. I think it's going to be a great time."
Speaking of the Irish, Cave said he was impressed with how Notre Dame closed their season with two wins.
"I think it was a great thing to get a couple of wins going into the off-season," the senior prospect said. "You could really tell that they were starting to get more together out there. Jimmy (Clausen) started looking much more comfortable out there. They started making some plays. We saw improvement and that has to give them some confidence."
Despite Notre Dame's rough season, all 21 commitments remained firm in their choice to attend Notre Dame.
"With everyone being pretty close, I think everyone kind of held each other together," said Cave when asked why he felt all the prospects remained committed to Notre Dame despite their troubles on the field. "I think everyone believes this staff will turn this around. With them having a year like this, I think we all know we're going to have a chance to come in and compete for a spot. That's an interest for everybody.
"Then you look at the academics. If football doesn't work out, you know you're going to have that degree. That's a big thing for all of us I think."
Cave will get another look at the inner workings of Notre Dame this weekend when he takes his official visit to Notre Dame. He also said he had some selling to do this weekend.
"It's going to be a great time," he said. "We've already had a lot of fun when guys were in when it was just me and a few other guys, so when you throw all of us together, I'm sure we'll have a great time.
"I talked with him when he came on his last visit. Other than that, I haven't really talked with him much," Cave said of Trevor Robinson, the only non-committed player expected on campus this weekend. "We need to get him. Hopefully he'll have a good time with us and see what we're building here and want to commit."
After the banquet and ESPN all-star game Cave will focus his attention on getting ready for life as an Irish football player.
"I have a personal trainer and I'm working with the wrestling team," he said. "The workouts are pretty crazy. I think that's going to help me out a lot. I can't lift or do anything physical with the (Notre Dame) team until I'm on campus, so really all I can do is go to spring practice. I plan to go to all of them if I can. That will be the time where I'll get really heavy into lifting to get prepared for the season. I won't be doing track or anything like that. "
Cave Focuses on Future
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