Moore and his men bruised in his first season coaching Seymour football


The season is over and it ended with a clunk, but coach Tyson Moore was still providing pep talks, especially aimed at the 27 Seymour football players whose high school careers are done.

The 66-0 sectional loss to Whiteland in the 5A playoffs stung last Friday night and so did the 3-7 record, culminating Moore’s first season as a head coach.

There is no next game for those 27. They were scheduled to turn in equipment Monday, give back shoulder pads and numbered jerseys. Memories they keep. Moore hopes they weed out the painful ones from losses both overwhelming and narrow and hang on tight to the good ones that will only ripen with time.

66-0 is a bruising way to lose. So was 56-0 to Columbus East. And 49-7 to Floyd Central.

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“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it didn’t catch me off-guard,” Moore said of the final game. “I was shocked. I thought we would be more competitive. I thought we would score on them.”

As soon as the gun sounded, Moore told his players to forget it, throw it in the trash, and examine the big picture, particularly those seniors who played an entire season with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic hanging overhead, who won some big games over Madison and Jennings County and Bedford North Lawrence.

What he hopes those 27 seniors take with them, Moore said, is a long-run experience worth looking back at once he has built Seymour into a program to be reckoned with, a step-by-step process, to be sure he knows.

“They’re the ones who helped set the foundation,” Moore said. “I want them to think they had a big piece of getting the train rolling. I’m hoping people can see the progress. I thought we did a lot of things we can build on.

“I want the seniors to be able to say, ‘Hey, learn from us.’”

The Owls lost their first two games, won three in a row, then lost 43-42 to chief rival Brownstown Central in a game with more twists the Yellow Brick Road.

There were three lead changes in the final minute and when the game ended Seymour was no doubt reeling in disbelief, dizzy over the outcome, demoralized in defeat.

Some year, though, the Owls will be in earshot when somebody brings up that game as maybe the greatest-ever among the teams’ showdowns. They will turn to them and say, “I was there. I was part of that.”

Moore and players believe the Owls should have won more, that just maybe if they had been more disciplined, made fewer little mistakes at critical times, close losses could have been turned into close wins.

“Man, we were that close to being 6-3,” Moore said of the regular season.

Moore is 28, but prepared for this leading role on the stage for much of his life, playing football and learning from his father, long-time coach Eric Moore.

The coronavirus background complication was unanticipated and was always a shadow, though neither Seymour’s practice nor schedule were disrupted.

“I feel like I’ve matured quite a bit in my coaching,” Moore said. “I feel like I’ve been coaching for 10 years. I feel like I’ve aged 10 years, too.”

Saturday, when he awoke, with the season finished, Moore didn’t know what to do. There was no next opponent to watch film on. Temporarily, he didn’t even feel like watching football on television.

Then he began thinking about 2021, how he can drill his philosophy into players, his expectations, and how he will be more hands on coaching the offense and defense.

The roster sheet for the Whiteland game listed the names of all those Seymour seniors in numerical order: Drew Schroeder, Eli Abner, Memphis Stoffregen, Ty Weddell-Woods, Ryan Elmore, Thomas Fraizer, Cody Ruble, Jay Able, Juan Sebastian, David Engel, Colin Greathouse, Josh Pennington, Chandler Drummond, Shelby Holt, Evan Kegeris, Isaiah Fontanez, Steven Wilson, Leo Polbito, Daniel Diego, Connor McDonald, Preston Applegate, Logan Hohnstreiter, Drew Vehslage, Kyler Leslie, Ivan Garcia, Russell Shuler, Caleb Elliott.

Time will pass and Owls will become doctors, teachers, construction workers, and maybe even coaches themselves. They will tell friends and relatives about the days when they played football and how they were part of the beginning of the Coach Moore era.

Coach Moore hopes they say it with pride.

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