Football, trombone can mix


Usually, when discussing football, going both ways means playing offense and defense.

For Caleb Elliott, double duty translates to playing football and playing the trombone for the home team on the same night.

As a member of Seymour’s gridiron group and the marching band, Elliott stands out. He has been known to kick and tackle, but he really displays his versatility at halftime.

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When the horn sounds after the first two quarters of play, Elliott runs off the field with his teammates, but he emerges from the locker room a moment later, still fully clad in football duds wearing his No. 93 jersey, and joins his other team back on the field.

Punter-kicker-defensive-end-trombonist makes the senior a man for all seasons. If he is not unique, he is at least uncommon among high school football players across the United States.

“I love it,” Elliott said of participating in his activities simultaneously.

He should maintain his hectic schedule again Friday night when the 0-2 Owls face 0-2 Madison at Bulleit Stadium.

Given the crowd of about 230 in the Seymour band, Elliott would blend in much more so during halftime music if he wasn’t dressed differently.

The band is so large there are section leaders to help ensure everyone lines up smoothly, and Elliott is one of those directors. While he is immersed in the music, the other Owl players absorb halftime adjustments from coaches.

After six minutes or so of musical entertainment, the band retreats to its in-game seats in the end zone, except for Elliott. He rejoins his football teammates for the second half, and they fill him in on what was said during the break.

Elliott, 17, who has flowing blond hair, was introduced to the sport through flag football and began playing trombone when he was in sixth grade. He and two music teammates won a competition gold medal for their togetherness playing “Trio for Trombone.”

He struggled to describe the tune for the layman, then shrugged.

“You’re not going to hear it on the radio,” Elliott said, meaning the oldies station.

Marching band and football overlap for a few minutes at halftime, but Elliott has practice responsibilities for both, too. Senior football players gather for team dinners before home games weekly, but Elliott has band dress rehearsal at the same time. That is one of his few outright conflicts.

Elliott is used to juggling his time anyway, though, because he also has a part-time job at Jay C Food Store.

“I am what they call a busy guy,” Elliott said.

Football coach Tyson Moore doesn’t mind Elliott’s extracurricular activity that supplements his other extracurricular activity. He has been told Elliott is a very good trombone player, but he never hears him play because Moore is tied up with the other players at halftime.

After two straight losses to start the season, Moore’s head is definitely on football and what the Owls can do this week to topple Madison besides overwhelm the visitors with the size of the band.

Seymour has hurt itself with big mistakes, and the boss knows fixing the errors, especially those made on special teams, is critical for a win this week. Those flaws led to three Jeffersonville touchdowns last week.

“That’s kind of unheard of,” Moore said. “They cost us. We didn’t get as many reps (on special teams over the summer) as we should have. That’s my fault. That’s something we will do going forward because we have to. We were getting out of alignment. We’ve got to clean that up. It just comes down to execution.”

The same may be said of trombone playing. The wielder of the instrument must be in sync with the rest of the band or a flat note may carry and get noticed.

Elliott will have some post-grad decisions to make. He would hate to think he will not play football again somewhere, and he definitely knows he will be making music.

“I want to keep my eyes open on both ends,” he said.

However, there is probably less of a chance Elliott will become a pro in the NFL than play in a symphony.

“Now that would be cool,” he said.

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