When Columbus North had a chance to play perennial power Carmel in the football season opener, the Bull Dogs jumped at the chance.
That meant casting aside longtime rival Seymour, and although both teams lost to their new Week 1 opponents last season, it could be beneficial to both in the long run. The Bull Dogs have a chance to prep for a brutal Conference Indiana schedule, and the Owls get a shot at a school closer to their size.
“They had an opportunity to play Carmel, and I can’t fault them for that,” Seymour coach Jeff Richey said. “The conference that they play in is so difficult. There’s no easy week for them, so playing Carmel was a good move for them, and it allowed us to pick up somebody.
“Columbus North is always a tough opener, and it allowed us to look around a little bit and find somebody we could compete a little bit better with at the point we were at,” he added. “We play more 5A teams in the state of Indiana than any 4A team. We play up just about every week.”
North and Seymour haven’t completely parted ways. Thursday night, they met for an informal scrimmage. No scores were kept, but players on both teams had a chance to prove themselves against someone else in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 settings.
“They have a team full of great kids who are hard-working guys, and there’s no animosity between the two programs,” North coach Tim Bless said. “That’s kind of your biggest fear — that a summer scrimmage gets chippy and kids are getting too competitive.
“Obviously, we want them to be competitive, but we don’t want them to get to the point where it’s chippy, and then it becomes (a negative) experience and that absolutely was not the case tonight,” he added. “I think the Seymour kids played hard and conducted themselves great, and I was proud of how our kids worked to. As coach Richey and I talked afterward, we thought it was very mutually beneficial.”
North will scrimmage Shelbyville on Thursday. Seymour is back in action tonight at Charlestown.
“I always look at Columbus North as giving us a great indicator of where we are and what we need to do,” Richey said. “Their kids are always aggressive, and they’re well-coached.”
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