Whether he lined up opposite a corner or commanded the coverage in the back of the field on the defense, Seymour senior Chris Knight always posed a threat to the opposition on the gridiron.

Knight, a two-way player, took the Hoosier Hills Conference by storm in his final season with the Owls. That’s just one reason why The Tribune has named Knight the 2015 football player of the year.

On defense, the three-year starter led the team with 112 tackles (73 tackles and 39 assists), eight passes defended and five interceptions along with three fumble recoveries at safety.

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As a wideout in the Owls’ offense, Knight snatched 39 passes for 495 yards and five touchdowns.

The Owls often relied on Knight on 2-point conversions during the season, as he finished with seven scores following a touchdown.

“I just do whatever I need to do to help the team win,” Knight said. “I love playing both sides of the ball. I love making tackles and coming in grabbing catches. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

“First, at safety, you have to read the pass and if it’s not (a pass) you need to find the ball. Usually, I could see through the holes pretty well. Mostly, I read the receivers and how they come off the ball.”

Knight helped lead the Owls to a sectional championship game against powerhouse East Central, and turn around a record of 0-5 to 5-7 in the final stretch of the season.

His accomplishments earned an All-HHC nod on top of being named Mr. Seymour.

“This season, we had a lot of dedication on the team,” Knight said. “We spent a lot more time preparing for games. This was the most fun year on the team.

“I think that every senior should have a leadership role. I want to set a good example and have the other guys follow me and expect that from the other seniors.”

Knight said his season highlight was the game-sealing interception against Brownstown Central, which helped propel the team to winning five of the next seven games.

Coming into the season, Owls coach Josh Shattuck had high expectations for Knight as the senior had led the team in tackles the previous season.

“In 2014 he was our most improved player,” Shattuck said. “He just worked and worked. Coming into this season the expectations were high — and he exceeded them by a mile. I knew he was a good player, but didn’t know we would be able to rely on him as heavily as we did on both sides of the ball. To have 112 tackles at safety is incredible. We knew he was a leader, captain-type kid but his on-field production was more than we anticipated.”

Knight didn’t always play on both offense and defense, and playing full-time on both sides of the ball was a challenge for Knight at the start.

“Last year, around Week 5 he said he felt like he could provide more for the team,” Shattuck said. “So, we gave him a shot as a receiver. We knew he was tough. This summer, I challenged him and would run five passing plays in a row in seven-on-sevens. He said he was tired, but I told him he would have to get used to it if he wants to play both sides and be the guy who gets the ball in key situations. He was gassed a little on those seven-on-sevens and I think that opened his eyes to what the season was going to be like.”

Shattuck said that Knight has come a long way from his sophomore year.

“He started as a sophomore, and wasn’t ready,” Shattuck admitted. “He had to play because of the circumstances of our team at the time. He got exposed, as many of our kids did in 2013.

“I think that, with Chris, he was 140 pounds soaking wet his sophomore year. He was a tough, aggressive kid. There’s nothing that he saw this year that he didn’t then, and I think that gave him confidence — and now he’s 25-pounds heavier and a heck of a lot better at a talent-wise. He has come a very long way.”

“He’s the heart and soul of the program from a senior perspective — not to take anything away from the other kids,” Shattuck said. “That’s what a senior leader, three-year starter should be and that was the expectation on him. He was supposed to make his teammates better and he did.”

After high school, Knight plans on studying education and playing college football.

At a glance

2015 Jackson County Football Player of the Year

Chris Knight // Seymour // Senior

Defense (Safety)

All-Hoosier Hills Conference

112 tackles (73 total, 39 assists)

Five interceptions

Eight passes defended

Three fumble recoveries

Offense (wide receiver)

39 receptions

495 receiving yards (41.3 yards average, 12.7 per catch)

Five receiving touchdowns

Seven two-point successful conversions

Other accomplishments: Helped Seymour reach sectional championship game, named Mr. Seymour, Class 4A All-State nomination

2015 All-County team

Jacob Brewer // Brownstown Central senior // Middle Linebacker and guard

Accomplishments: Senior Class 3A All-State team as linebacker, All-Mid-Southern Conference, helped Braves advance to regional championship, school record 19 tackles in a game (versus North Harrison), led BCHS with 98 tackles (39 solo, 59 assists), three sacks, six tackles for loss, part of offensive line that had 4,239 rushing yards.

Clay Wilkerson // Brownstown Central senior // Offensive and defensive lines

Accomplishments: Senior Class 3A All-State team on offensive line, All-MSC, 21 tackles (5 solo, 16 assists), part of offensive line that had 4,239 rushing and 1,331 passing yards, helped Braves advance to regional championship.

Gavin Bane // Brownstown Central junior // Defensive Back, kick return and slot receiver

Accomplishments: Junior Class 3A All-State team as defensive back, All-MSC, led BCHS with 1,306 rushing yards and 23 total touchdowns, 10 converted 2-point attempts, 368 receiving yards, kick return for touchdown, helped Braves advance to regional championship.

John McKinney // Brownstown Central senior // Slot receiver and defensive back

Accomplishments: All-MSC, 29 tackles (17 solo, 12 assists), three interceptions, 829 rushing yards, 12 total touchdowns, converted five 2-point conversions, 12 catches for 127 yards, helped Braves advance to regional championship.

Justin Donnells // Brownstown Central senior // Outside linebacker and slot receiver

Accomplishments: All-MSC, led team with nine sacks, 59 tackles (22 solos, 37 assists), 577 yards rushing yards and nine touchdowns, helped Braves advance to regional championship.

Kyle Kramer // Brownstown Central junior // Quarterback, punter and defensive back

Accomplishments: Junior Class 3A All-State team as punter, All-MSC honorable mention, 153 completions for 1,331 yards and 16 touchdowns, 12 rushing TD behind 646 yards, 24 punts for 976 yards (average 40.7 yards, long of 64), converted five two-point conversions, helped Braves advance to regional championship.

Cam Shoemaker // Brownstown Central senior // Tight end

Accomplishments: All-MSC honorable mention, team-high 24 receptions with 367 yards, averaged 15.3 yards per catch, three receiving touchdowns, helped Braves advance to regional championship.

Alan Perry // Seymour sophomore // Quarterback

Accomplishments: Broke school records for passing completions (198), 2,318 passing yards (second-best in SHS history, third-best for Class 4A, 24th overall in state), 24 passing touchdowns (27th overall in state), QB rating of 100.0, 605 rushing yards with seven TD, helped Owls advance to sectional championship.

Jackson Morris // Seymour junior // Wide receiver 

Accomplishments: All-HHC honorable mention, broke school record with 72 receptions in a season, led team with 760 receiving yards, four receiving touchdowns, helped Owls advance to sectional championship.

Luke Dover // Seymour senior // Slot receiver

Accomplishments: 42 receptions, 628 receiving yards, team-high seven TD catches, helped Owls advance to sectional championship.

Todd Kiewitt // Seymour junior // Linebacker, punter and kicker

Accomplishments: 105 tackles (32 solo, 33 assists), three interceptions, four fumble recoveries, 18 punts for 610 yards (33.9 average, long of 50), helped Owls advance to sectional championship.

Cailen Shepherd  // Seymour junior // Offensive line

Accomplishments: All-HHC honorable mention, aided 1,951 rushing and 2,318 passing yards on offensive line, helped Owls advance to sectional championship.

Nik Richert // Seymour junior // Defensive line

Accomplishments: 58 tackles (11 solo, 40 assists),  team-high five sacks, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, helped Owls advance to sectional championship.

Zach Carpenter // Seymour junior // Running back

Accomplishments: team-high 842 rushing yards with five touchdowns, 25 receptions for 263 yards, four receiving touchdowns,  helped Owls advance to sectional championship.

Honorable Mention

Matt Nierman // Brownstown Central senior // Slot receiver and defensive back

Clark Hauer // Brownstown Central junior // Center

Cameron Eggerman // Brownstown Central junior // Tackle and defensive end

Trevor Colby // Brownstown Central junior // Defensive end

Evens Cribs// Seymour junior// Corner and kick return

Alex Holt // Seymour sophomore // Defensive back

Pull Quote

“Coming into this season the expectations were high — and he exceeded them by a mile. I knew he was a good player, but didn’t know we would be able to rely on him as heavily as we did on both sides of the ball.” — Seymour coach Josh Shattuck

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