Joseph Towriss had never played a down of football prior to his freshman year at Seymour High School.
“I had wanted to play football for a few years, but we didn’t know how to get it to work with me being homeschooled,” he said. “My mom and I contacted the athletic director and figured out the requirements to allow me to play.
“I’ve known Jack Roberts, Conner Klakamp and Caleb Madden since preschool through church and preschool.”
Roberts, Klakamp and Madden are senior members of this year’s team, and they helped Towriss get up to speed with the football program.
He has made steady improvement to where he is a starter at defensive end this fall.
Towriss said he was a defensive end his freshman year but didn’t see much playing time. He played on the offensive line and as an outside linebacker on the junior varsity team his sophomore year, which is when he saw his playing time increase.
He split his playing time between offense and defense on the JV and varsity last fall.
“Playing time last year helped a lot,” he said. “Now, I’m on the strong side, or sometimes, I’ll go just the left side.
“I try to fill the ‘C’ gap. That way, the linebackers have one less gap to worry about. I try to stay on the side of the tackle. I’m looking at the tackle’s shoulder to see if he’s coming at me or going down so I can get my hands on him and follow him.”
Through two games this fall, Towriss has been credited with one tackle and six assists, and he has recovered one fumble.
“Between coach (Mike) Kelly and coach (Brian) Balsmeyer, I think this is probably the smartest defense I’ve been a part of,” Towriss said. “We’re learning so much so fast. It’s really beneficial.”
This is the third season for Towriss and the Owls to practice and play on turf, and he said he enjoys the home games.
“I love the atmosphere. It’s a lot of fun,” Towriss said. “Just seeing all the kids celebrate with us is a lot of fun. I like the turf a lot. I like to play at any of the places that has turf. I don’t dislike grass fields, but the turf is definitely my preference.
“I think it helps being a lineman, no matter where we’re at, I have good traction on my cleats. On a mud field sometimes, you have traction, and sometimes, you don’t, and being a lighter lineman, especially (6 foot, 195 pounds), I can get that.”
He said his playing weight last fall was 185, and he credits being bigger and stronger to his workouts in the weight room.
Towriss said he is pleased he decided to play football.
“I’ve made friends that I’ll have for life here,” Towriss said. “I’m met some of my best friends here that I didn’t know that well before. I’ve gotten a lot stronger from playing and being with the team the last three years.
“Last week’s game was one of the more entertaining games from a spectator’s standpoint that I’ve gotten to be a part of. That was a lot of fun to watch. That was a neat milestone that I hadn’t gotten to do yet.”
He said you have to have confidence in yourself and your teammates.
“You’ve got to trust the guys to have your back,” Towriss said. “On the defensive end, I can’t really see the linebackers or DBs. I just have to trust that they’re going to do what they’re supposed to do. We just have to be 11 as one.”
The Owls are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2001.
“This week, it’s going to take everything to win,” Towriss said. “East is going to be a handful. We’re going to need a whole lot of practice and teamwork. We’ve got to keep the train moving. I hope we finish the season off in a great way. I hope we can win the sectional this year. That’s a goal I would really like to reach.”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Towriss file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Name: Joseph Towriss
School: Seymour High School
Parents: Rachel Towriss, Doug Towriss
Sport: Football, fouryears
Plans after high school: Attend college
Favorite food: Burgers
Favorite TV show: “The Office”
Favorite musician: Logic
Favorite movie: “Hotrod”
Favorite team: Indiana Pacers