Back on the Turf; Owls gearing up for 2024 season with summer football practices


Next month, 311 Indiana high schools will gear up for another season on the gridiron. The road to Lucas Oil Stadium as some might call it.

The Seymour football team has been grinding through the dogdays of summer, starting practices at 7 a.m., to beat the scorching southern Indiana heat.

The team showed out for practice on Monday morning, doing drills and gearing up for their 2024-25 season. Seymour compiled a record of 6-5 for their second straight winning campaign last year. The Owls haven’t done that in football since Coach Joe Goodman won 12 games in 2001 and 6 more in 2002.

Class of 2025 seniors Jaylan Johnson and Mitchell Mellencamp spoke about the first few weeks of summer practice.

“The first few weeks have been really solid,” Johnson said. “We’re getting our team chemistry in with a lot of new guys coming in and a lot of guys coming back. We must keep working on that chemistry, but we’ve been improving during each practice. We can see it on film that we’ve continued to improve at different areas of the game.”

Mellencamp likes the energy from the team.

“They’ve been pretty good,” Mellencamp said. “I think we’ve brought a lot of energy out here in the mornings. We have been getting better each week and continue to show improvement. We went over to Center Grove and that really helped us. I’m excited to see us keep growing as a team.”

The team also is looking to replace the greatest statistical quarterback in Jackson County history in Bret Perry, who tossed 41 touchdowns and threw for 3,427 yards last season, both of which are school records.

Senior Mikey Wright and sophomore Max Coates are currently competing for the starting quarterback position.

Johnson will be relied on in the passing game, since he’s a gamebreaker with the ball in his hands. Johnson caught 57 balls last season for 960 receiving yards. The senior was asked about the adjustment to the new quarterbacks this summer.

“I’m liking it,” he said. “We’ve been getting our timing down and I feel it will be fine.”

Both seniors spoke about their upcoming final high school football season.

“We have a lot of guys returning this year on defense, and a lot of guys with varsity experience that should help us out this season,” Mellencamp said. “I’m excited, we have the ability to do some great things this year. We’re going to try and make the most of our senior season here in Seymour.”

“My main goal is getting a sectional championship,” Johnson said. “That has been our goal for a while, being in a new sectional and we feel it’s the perfect opportunity for us to go and try to achieve that.”

Coach Tyson Moore begins his fifth season at the helm in Seymour, beginning with a 19-22 record when the Owls face the Woodsmen on Aug. 23 at Greenwood High School to open the season. The first home game at Bulleit Stadium in 2024 will be against Jeffersonville in the second week at 7 p.m. Aug. 30.

The coach spoke about what he is impressed with from the Owls so far this summer.

“I love our passion and willingness to compete. I have been around programs before that you walk into the weight room or you walk onto the field and it feels like there are guys there who just want to get the day over with, they “have” to be there so to say,” Moore said.

“This team isn’t that way. Heck, there are times where I may be in a bad mood, and I walk out onto the field and the attitude of this team gets me ready to go. They love each other, they love football, and they love being a part of this team, that is huge.”

The first couple of weeks have incorporated a lot of weightlifting and agility.

“We have hit the weight room hard, and we have gotten a lot faster as a team,” Moore said. ‘Every coach knows that summer is vitally important to getting the body ready for a long season ahead and our guys have really embraced our strength and conditioning program.

“They know the expectation and they understand how the work they put in during June and July will help them from August to November. It has also been an important time for getting our young guys lots of reps on the field.”

The team will have to replace two starters on defense and nine starters on offense, the third highest scoring offense in Class 5A at 37.27 points a game, throughout Indiana. Moore spoke about the competition for positions currently ongoing.

“I have really harped on the fact that the competition for positions is wide open right now and this has opened the door for a lot of young guys to potentially fill those roles,” Moore said. “We have done some great things this summer, but we have a way to go before August gets here.”

The team has a foundation of upper-class students and Moore is expecting a lot from his older players this season.

“Accountability is key, but the most important thing is upholding a standard that has been created while I have been here,” he said. “We are two years removed from the first HHC championship in 21 years. Last season saw a team that completely rewrote the record books for Seymour football and then you sprinkle in two sectional championship games.”

Moore spoke about the growth of the Owls program in his five years here and how pivotal these seniors have been in that trend up.

“We have come a long way in the five years I have been here and the upperclassmen, especially the seniors have been a part of all of that. They have created an expectation,” Moore said.

“They have raised the bar higher each year. And even through times that we have failed, the standard has been noted. These guys have worked their tails off to create a legacy and level of accountability that I don’t think has existed in this program for a while. My biggest expectation for them is to keep pushing that bar a little higher each week.”

Seymour begins team camp next week, then the Purple and White scrimmage will take place on Aug. 9 at Bulleit Stadium.

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