DOWN THE MIDDLE

While he often wasn’t the most flashy player on the field, Seymour’s Kyle Jones did all of the little things right.

Smart passing, strong possessions, an accurate shooting boot and leadership — that was the senior’s game.

Playing in a defensive-midfielder role, Jones commanded the middle third of the field — directing both sides of the ball.

More times than not, if a ball found the back of the net, Jones played a role in the possession.

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A four-year letter winner, Jones commanded the respect of his peers through his play.

“He’s a leader,” Owls coach Matt Dennis said. “In the formation we play, he played in what I think is the most important role in a holding midfielder position. There’s a lot of offensive and defensive responsibilities.

“He commanded the guys around him. He’s not going to dazzle you with footwork and things like that, but everything he does is going to be solid. He’s not going to make a mistake in the middle of the field, he’s going to make the right pass and get kids in position. He’s a really solid soccer player.”

For his efforts on the 2015 season, Jones was selected to the All-District team, earned an All-Hoosier Hills Conference nod and is currently eligible for All-State awards.

Jones finished with seven goals on the season, and was ranked No. 90 overall-best individually by MaxPreps at the end of the campaign.

“He was the hardest working kid that we had, and that’s why he was a two-year captain,” Dennis said. “He drove other people around him to be better. In some of our fitness tests, there were competitions to specifically beat Kyle. Whenever you have guys that are competing for more than a minimum, outdoing each other, it drive the entire team to do well — and Kyle was a big part of that.”

Jones also will play in the ISCA Showcase tournament Nov. 21.

With all his accomplishments this season, The Tribune has named Jones the boys soccer player of the year.

This past fall, the Owls finished 11-6-2 — the best record under Dennis in his five years of coaching.

“Our team worked really hard this year,” Jones said. “We had the best record under Coach Dennis. We were probably the best Seymour soccer team we’ve had in a while.”

Every Friday, the Owls held a free-kick session before school and Jones always put forth the extra effort.

Those practices translated to two free-kick scores, including a 45-yards bomb against Oldenburg Academy, and a corner-kick goal.

Whenever the Owls earned a set piece, Jones stepped up to the plate.

“We made that decision three or four games in on the free kicks,” Dennis said. “Every Friday we had a voluntary practice for 45 minutes in the morning where we work on free kicks. Anyone can come and take them. He started hitting them well in the training, so we kept having him take them. He put in the time and effort and came through for us.”

On offense, Jones always tried to get other guys involved.

“Offensively, you have to have a whole lot of communication,” Jones said. “You have to tell people where you want the ball, where you want the runs to be. You’ve got to be able to pass the ball around, and have some of those people that are in one-on-one situations be able to get pass their defenders.”

Dennis said that while Jones wasn’t the most talkative guy, his teammates knew that when he spoke that they needed to listen.

“He wasn’t as vocal last year, but anytime you’re a junior with seniors that’s going to happen,” Dennis said. “He wasn’t quiet, you knew when he was talking. He wouldn’t say a lot, but when he was talking you knew to listen. I think he commanded that attention from his teammates.

In the second game of the season, Jones was given a controversial red card against Providence.

Jones was forced to sit out against Columbus East.

When he returned against Scottsburg, Jones buried one into the back of the net in an 8-0 rout.

“During the East game I had to sit out,” Jones said. “I watched what was going on and wondered how we could beat them in sectionals. The next game, I came out with a chip on my shoulder. I wanted to play harder.”

Having to sit out, Jones had to stay mentally prepared and come back stronger than ever.

“(In) games you have to stay mentally focused,” Jones said. “You always have to have kind of that chip on your shoulder like, ‘We need to do this, and we need to do that. This team thinks they’re better than us.’ If you’re down a goal you have to work as hard as you can to score.”

Jones credited his teammates, especially fellow midfielder Brantly Adams, on many of the successes this season.

“I feel like the midfield went through Brantley (Adams) and me,” Jones said. “We both really communicated well to help improve scoring on the field. This season, I kind of found those passes before they happened. I try to think a step ahead.”

After defeating Scottsburg and Madison, 3-0 each, the Owls fell to Columbus East 5-0 in the Class 2A Columbus Sectional Championship.

“I like to go back five years,” Dennis said looking back at Jones’ career. “Last year was my fourth year, but none of those seniors played all four years. This was my first class with four years seniors. I told them in eighth grade that they were the ones who are going to turn this program around. When we’re done, you will set in place the expectations. They did that.”

In his final year, Jones capped his career with a number of senior teammates.

“The senior group, it’s been me, Korey (White), Matthew Pyle, Cole Luedeman, Austin Hatfield,” Jones said. “Us five played on the Seymour Cyclones (travel team) together for many years. It’s a really fun group. We could basically read each other. We know our habits and we know where somebody is going to make that run to.”

Jones plans on focusing on his studies after high school, specifically in engineering, and will not play soccer in college.

2015 All County team

Joining Kyle Jones on the 2015 Jackson County Boys Soccer team:

Daniel Hartman, Seymour, Freshman

Accomplishments: All-Hoosier Hills Conference Honorable Mention, 2015 Owls attacker award, six goals, four assists

Brantley Adams, Seymour, Junior

Accomplishments: All-HHC 1st team, two goals, four assists, Academic All-State

Griffin Sciarra, Seymour, Junior

Accomplishments: All-HHC Honorable Mention, Academic All-State, 2015 Owls Outstanding Defender Award

Austin Hatfield, Seymour, Senior

Accomplishments: 80 goal saves, 1.5 GAA, 2015 Owls Most Improved Award

Matthew Pyle, Seymour, Senior

Accomplishments: one assist, two forced own goals

Korey White, Seymour, Senior

Accomplishments: six goals, one assist, 2015 Owls Coaches’ Award

Renato Castillo, Seymour, Junior

Accomplishments: six goals, four assists

Bobby Tabeling, Trinity Lutheran, Senior

Accomplishments: eight goals, three asissts

Cole Allman, Trinity Lutheran, Senior

Accomplishments: three assists, 29 goal saves

Chris Rust, Trinity Lutheran, Senior

Accomplishments: three goals, five assists

Luke Onken, Trinity Lutheran, Senior

Accomplishments: 52 goal saves, three goals

Honorable Mention

Cole Luedeman, Seymour, Senior

Ethan Greene, Seymour, Sophomore

Zach Moore, Seymour, Sophomore

Mason Pottschmidt, Seymour, Junior

Brayan Torres, Seymour, Sophomore

Cole Galyen, Trinity Lutheran, Senior

AJ Goecker, Trinity Lutheran, Freshman

Sam Hayes, Trinity Lutheran, Sophomore

Andrew Emily, Trinity Lutheran, Sophomore

At a glance

Parents: Greg and Tammy Jones

Siblings: Heather

Sports: soccer 4 years

Organizations: National Honor Society

Favorite food: steak

Favorite TV show: NCIS

Favorite movie: “Lone Survivor”

Favorite team: Indiana Hoosiers, Indianapolis Colts

Jones file

2015 Boys soccer player of the year

Kyle Jones//Seymour//Senior

Accommplishments: All-District First Team, All-Hoosier Hills Conference, will compete in ISCA Showcase tournament, Academic All-State, 2015 Owls MVP, two-year captain, eligible for All-State awards, seven goals

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Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.