For The Tribune
There’s an old saying, “You never know what the future is going to bring.”
Steven Wingler played football at Brownstown Central High School, and graduated in 2011.
He then attended Anderson University where he played football for four years.
Since he changed majors, Wingler didn’t have enough credits to get his diploma.
This summer, Wingler had two goals in mind, to work for his bachelor’s degree, and to coach high school football.
He checked the Internet and saw that Seymour had a position open for a coach.
Wingler was hired, and Friday night he was in the press box at Bulleit Stadium helping coach the Owls post a 38-30 win against his former team.
He is Seymour’s varsity running back and linebacker coach, while also helping defensive coordinator Ryan McCartney call formations, Wingler said.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Wingler said. “I never really thought when I was playing that I would ever be coaching here, but some events happened. I got out of college and I was looking for a coaching job. I came in and talked to Josh (Shattuck, Seymour’s head coach).”
According to Wingler, his experience with a successful Braves program helped bring him into the Owls’ fold.
“(Shattuck) was really fired up about bringing in somebody from a winning tradition that had played college ball, and a younger guy that could relate to the kids,” Wingler said.
“In terms of playing and stuff, those (Brownstown Central coaches) are my mentors and I really look up to coach (Reed) May. He’s probably one of my favorite people to talk to, not just about Xs and Os, but about life in general. When I was in college I would stop by and see him.”
Wingler says there is no other game on the schedule like the Jackson Bowl game between the Owls and the Braves, and he didn’t have any trouble getting ‘up’ for the Owls, and it didn’t take much to get the Owls excited to face the Braves this week.
“It was just a heated rivalry,” he said. “My freshman year was the first year they brought it back. It was a really cool experience, especially being on the team my sophomore year and getting that first win for Brownstown.
“It was probably the craziest and most memorable game of my life. As a player you want to win the sectional and stuff, but winning that game was just as big.”
Wingler recalled May had a number board.
“He wanted us to remember the numbers, and after our freshman year he added the county to the numbers,” Wingler said. “(May) said, ‘we’re going to get these wins and it is very important us.’ We really thought that was important and the coaches did too.”
Wingler, who had a Seymour hat and a purple shirt on for practice on Thursday said, “(The BC coaches) would wear ‘Seymour’ shirts during practice and say ‘they’re better than you,’ and get us riled up. It was a good time. We only won one time out of the four years I played, but it was really competitive besides that first year.”
Wingler said there was electricity in the air, especially when the game was played at Blevins Stadium.
“As a Brownstown player, I feel like I was more charged up myself at the Brownstown games,” Wingler said. “The stands are a little smaller, and especially with Elm Street and all the people back there. That’s awesome. I loved playing there and seeing everybody sitting in lawn chairs all the way around the stadium. That was a really memorable moment.”
One of the things he has tried to instill in the Owls this fall is discipline.
“The biggest thing with us is teaching discipline,” Wingler siad. ‘I just try to tell the kids it is a big game, but it’s still another game. You’ve still got to do your same responsibilities. You can’t play any harder or do anything crazier than you do in any other game. You’ve got to play with a passion, and play within the whistle. That’s all you can do.”
Seymour’s Luke Dover said winning the Jackson Bowl was a big confidence builder for his team, while BC’s Jacob Brewer said his team lacked a team effort.
“This feels great,” Dover said. “I don’t know how to explain it. I’m just so happy right now.”
The game was tied at 8-8 at the half before the Owls scored three touchdowns in the third period, with Dover’s TD run putting his team on top 22-8.
“We just kept fighting,” he said. “Up to this game we would always lose it in the second half, and we knew we had to keep fighting. Those touchdowns gave us a lot of momentum. We had a great team effort. We played as a team. I couldn’t ask for much more from my teammates.
“This will turn our program around right here. This is a turning point. We can’t lose any players. We’ve got to keep fighting every game like this.”
Brownstown Central’s Brewer said, “Most of the teams we play on our schedule are people we don’t know, but with these teams 10 miles down the road, we see each other around, we play other sports.
“You don’t want to lose to somebody you really know. You don’t want to lose to your best friend. There was a lot of good competition. That’s what the atmosphere was.”
He said the Braves need to stay away from errors.
“I would say (we need) heart, but this team has a lot of heart. We need to use our brains a little bit more. We had a lot more than three or four mistakes. The team effort just wasn’t there tonight.”