Cody Ruble has completed his responsibilities as quarterback for the Seymour football team, the last act being to accept the Most Valuable Player award for the Owls for the 2020 season.
Dodging the coronavirus during summer drills, fall practice and able to complete every scheduled game was one of the 3-7 Ows’ feats this season as the sports world, from Indiana high school football to Major League Baseball to the NBA shifted with each rubbing together of tectonic plates that shook things up.
It was no small feat of social distancing and adopting precautionary habits week to week, and then this week, well after the games ended, the Owls were forced to call off their in-person annual awards ceremony that was planned for last Sunday in the high school.
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Instead, Ruble and his teammates had their academy award trophies announced on a large Zoom conference, with somewhere between 60 and 70 people online.
That may not have been a marvelous substitute, but Ruble said he much preferred doing the show in this manner than having a game cancelled, as the Owls’ nearby rival Brownstown Central experienced in the first week of the season.
“I was grateful we got to play the whole season with COVID,” Ruble said. “I thought about it in the back of my head every week.”
Ruble, a senior, showed off a big arm and made things happen from the pocket when he unleashed throws to a cross-section of receivers, but also made big plays running the ball.
The Owls played their first season under new coach Tyson Moore and showed flashes of explosiveness on offense and had evenings of defensive mightiness, but overall were a work in progress.
Ruble said the announcement as MVP caught him by surprise.
“I didn’t expect it, but I was very thankful,” Ruble said.
Moore said Ruble was definitely a worthy recipient and by saying he was surprised, the coach thought his QB was just acting in a self-effacing manner.
“I think that’s him being humble,” Moore said. “Cody did so much for us this year. He was well-composed and he just understood the game so well.”
Ruble threw for more than 1,200 yards and 11 touchdown passes.
“He was voted by his teammates,” Moore said.
The Owls’ Most Improved Playerswas offensive lineman Logan Hohnstreiter, who kept surprising Moore over a two-year period, first when Moore was an assistant coach.
“I rode him hard because I wanted him to get better,” Moore said. “He started to get better and better and better. It was a night and day difference.”
Sophomore Will Gray, the back-up quarterback, was named Scout Team Player of the Year.
“He had a lot of growth,” Moore said. It is not certain Gray will be the first-stringer next season, but “Will is definitely going to be in that picture. He is an athlete and he will play.”
The Special Teams Player of the Year was senior Caleb Elliott, kicker and punter, who was named 5A All-State punter. The Defensive Player of the Year award was shared by linebackers Evan Smith and Josh Pennington and defensive back Ty Woods-Weddell. Woods-Weddell was also one of four players honored with the Captains Award, along with Pennnington, Ruble and Drew Vehslage
Plus, Woods-Weddell was singled out with the inaugural Owl Award as the most outstanding senior.
“Ty is one of those guys you hope you have every year, but you don’t have the luxury every year,” Moore said.
Woods-Weddell did not receive a lot of acclaim earlier in his high school career.
“He wanted to prove people wrong,” Moore said. “He did a lot of things for us. As a captain he held everybody accountable. Guys respected him.”
Moore established the Owl Award to recognize intangibles.
“What is it we look for in a Seymour football player?” he said. “The true representative of the Seymour football player. That’s part of his (Woods-Weddell) legacy.”
Woods-Weddell, Ruble and Elliott were chosen for the Hoosier Hills Conference all-league team and Pennington, along with running back Colin Greathouse, were honorable mention.
Greathouse was named Seymour’s Offensive Player of the Year and was glad every game was played despite the virus threat.
“That was a blessing,” Greathouse said. “Especially after what happened to Brownstown the first week. I felt like we accomplished a lot.”
Greathouse was thrilled to earn the plaque that came with his award and he plans to hang it on the wall at home. He was sorry the team could not come together one last time for the ceremony when school itself was switching back to live classes.
“I’m super burned up,” Greathouse said. “It would only have been 60 people and school has a thousand. It would have been great to smile and laugh with everyone one last time.”