Friday night was a storybook ending for Owls coach Tyson Moore


By Dylan Wallace | The Tribune
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The pandemonium had finally settled.

It was 10:30 p.m. at Bulleit Stadium on Friday night. The stadium had emptied out. The car horns stopped honking. The only thing still remaining was the scoreboard, still lighting up the sky, reading “Home 28, Guests 24.”

But that was outside. Inside, there was still one final light on. It was the light inside the coach’s office. Tyson Moore sat in his chair, leaning back with his hands behind his head.

He was planning to head out in a minute. He told his assistants he would go out to meet up with them, but Moore was delaying it.

“I don’t want to leave,” he said, “because if I leave, that means it’s over.”


I’m still relatively new to Seymour.

This is my first fall covering prep sports in Jackson County, meaning it’s my first time covering the football scene here on Friday nights.

Growing up in northwest Indiana, I had never heard of the Hoosier Hills Conference. I knew nothing of the dominance of Columbus East.

It wasn’t until early last week when I discovered just what the Olympians have been doing in the HHC every Friday night for the past 15 years.

They’ve won or shared the HHC title 17 consecutive years? They’ve won 14 straight outright conference titles? They’ve won 96 consecutive HHC games? I couldn’t believe it when I heard it.

When I spoke with Moore the Wednesday before the game, he wasn’t fazed.

“Columbus East is Columbus East. They do great things on the field, but I think too often, people think they are this unbeatable opponent, and they’re not. They’re a great football team, and we have to play a great football game in order to compete with them. I’m not naïve to the fact that it’s the monster of the HHC. It’s a team that hasn’t lost a conference game in 15 years. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but I’m not going to tell you that they’re unbeatable because they’re not.”


When Moore was in eighth grade, he saw Columbus East lose in the Hoosier Hills Conference. That was 16 years ago.

Fifteen years ago, Moore was a freshman on Columbus East’s high school football team under head coach Bob Gaddis. The Olympians went undefeated in the HHC that year and won the conference title.

They did the same for the rest of Moore’s high school tenure as an offensive lineman.

That incredible streak of dominance began when Moore was a freshman at East.

He was on the team that started it 15 years ago, so it was fitting that Moore was the head coach to end it on Friday night.

The game in itself Friday night had a bit of slower pace to it at the start. East likes to run the ball down opponents’ throats, and with sophomore QB Bret Perry stepping in for an injured Will Gray for the Owls, they looked to use Perry’s legs a little more and run the ball, as well.

Gaddis retired after last season, so the Olympians are now run by first-year head coach Eddie Vogel. They started the season 0-2 after facing two tough nonconference opponents in the first two weeks.

Seymour also started the season 0-2 after struggling to put together four full quarters in either game.

One team was going to pick up that first W, and history pointed toward East.

Seymour fumbled the opening kickoff, which is never a good way to start the game, but the Owls’ defense held tough by holding East to just a field goal.

Seymour controlled a majority of the possession in the first half, but after an interception thrown in the back of the end zone, the Owls missed out on the opportunity to take a lead into halftime and trailed 10-6.

East would extend its lead to 10 multiple times in the second half, but Seymour never wavered.

Dylan Fields returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown right after an East score. Evan Smith lined up in the wildcat and threw a jump pass to Jaylan Johnson for a creative touchdown. Seymour was pulling out all of the stops, and as the game went on, the belief continued to build.

It was Mikey Wright’s forced fumble and Benjamin Marks’ recovery that gave the Owls hope with 2:16 left to play trailing by three. Moore kept thinking to himself during the game, “If we just get the ball back, I know we can score.”

The heroics continued from Seymour’s roster. Perry found Jack Pennington on a 3rd and 15 for 18 yards, and Dylan Fields took an end-around for a 9-yard TD run with 26 seconds left to give Seymour the deciding lead.

I was even texting friends who know nothing about Seymour football that I was witnessing history.

The clock struck zero, and that’s when the pandemonium ensued. Students rushed the field, and not too long after that, everyone from the stands flooded the Owls home turf.

Moore stood up in the press box, just wrapping up his postgame media interview, and he looked out at the scene.

“You can look out at this field right now, I don’t think anybody is leaving any time soon,” he said.

He was right. People stuck around for a while, but eventually, they all had to leave.

But Moore stayed. He sat back in his office, hoping everyone realized how big of a win this was for Seymour football and the community.

He soaked in Friday night as much as he could. But it was time for Moore to finally head out, too.

He stood up from his chair, grinning as he took a big sigh of relief. He got his team to believe they could win. He got them to play four full quarters for the first time this season. He ended the dominant streak that he helped start.

It was a storybook ending for the second-year Owl head coach, but to him, it was just the beginning.

“On to next week.”

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