Seymour psyched for football sectional


Russell Shuler looks at the numbers and wants the football world to understand they shouldn’t be believed.

The record says the Seymour football team is 3-6 going into Friday night’s Class 5A 7 p.m. sectional game at Whiteland.

For the Owls who lived it, though, the season’s official record feels like a mistake.

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“I think we should be at least 6-3 right now,” said the senior defensive standout. “We shouldn’t be 3-6.”

Belief and mindset can lead to upsets by underdogs, and that is what is running through the minds of Owls players as they prepare to face the 7-1 Warriors in what could be their last game of the 2020 season or could make them the toast of the playoffs.

“We just need a way to come together,” Shuler said.

Seymour came together on several occasions this season, thumping Madison 33-0 and Jennings County 47-7, handling Bedford North Lawrence 26-7 and in losing a thriller to Brownstown Central 43-42.

More than once, Seymour’s offense and defense clicked at a high level on the same day, and the Brownstown game might take the prize for refusing to give up.

The energy the team brought to the Madison and Brownstown games is what Shuler wants to see Friday.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” he said.

The Owls had last week off, and coach Tyson Moore took it somewhat easy in practice, gave the players a few days off and this week honed the game plan and readiness.

“It was a much-needed break,” Moore said. “Now, I need the guys to understand if you lose, there is no next week. I want them to be excited, and I want them to be loose. Don’t take this for granted.”

No more easing into it. It’s sectional week.

“It’s one of the most intense weeks we can have,” said linebacker Jay Able. “It’s more like you’ve really got to focus hard on this game.”

Meaning investing in extra film time to study every little detail about the opponent and even being distracted at school on game day.

“I catch myself wondering how the game is going to go,” Able said.

Moore has spent the season emphasizing the players should not take any week for granted. Squeezing in the entire schedule without interruption from the COVID-19 pandemic was not a gimme. Even now, with cases of the virus rising elsewhere and in Indiana, there is the threat of disease disruption.

“I think we’ll be fine,” Moore said. “I think the game will be played.”

Moore said the Madison and Jennings County routs were examples of the Owls playing at their best with the defense and offense sharing in the success. To outlast favored Whiteland, what Moore thinks Seymour must do is execute cleanly and be devilish on defense.

“Forcing turnovers,” he said.

This could be the last game for numerous seniors who would like to keep playing this sport. The only way to do so this late in the fall is to win.

Aspects of the virus, from games in other sectionals being forfeited to daily school life shifting between in-person classes and eLearning to attendance being limited at stadiums, senior running back Colin Greathouse thinks some fans are distracted.

“It feels like a regular-season game,” Greathouse said of this playoff contest. “But it matters a lot more.”

Only coaches and teachers have talked up the theme of “it’s sectional time,” Greathouse said, more than fellow students.

“With the virus, it has been one week at a time,” he said. “I am blessed to get through the football season. I thought for sure we weren’t going to have it. You couldn’t just assume we’d play. All the time, it was, ‘We made it another week.’”

Making it for another week yet is the goal of this football team representing Moore’s first season as a head coach. At times, it has shown fabulous flash with quarterback Cody Ruble throwing to multiple receivers and backs like Greathouse and Chandler Drummond complementing that yardage with runs as the defense at its best held three teams to seven points or less.

Drummond, too, cited the high-voltage energy the Owls demonstrated in the epic game against rival Brownstown with its bizarre and hectic finish.

“We need to play up to the same energy we gave,” he said of what will be necessary to survive against Whiteland. “I feel we can be a lethal team and if our defense can just go crazy and hit everybody.”

Drummond knows he will be ready, bringing the same attitude and approach to the start he always does. He does not listen to music to get ready for kickoff or dwell on specific scenarios.

“I really let my mind go clear,” Drummond said. “I’m more kind of nervous for the first play. Then there’s a whole adrenaline rush.”

And it’s game on.

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