Memories on athletic fields from years past were discussed Saturday night when Seymour High School Class of 1966 conducted its 50-year reunion at the Knights of Columbus.
Most of the discussions centered on the victories, as Seymour won the All-Sports trophy in the South Central Conference in 1965-66.
It was the second time Seymour won the all-sports award, with the first time coming in the 1955-56 school year.
Seymour won the SCC baseball tournament and tied for first in football.
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The Owls were second in basketball, placed second in the conference golf tournament, and were sixth in cross-country, seventh in track and field and eighth in tennis.
Wrestling did not become an official SCC sport until 1968-69.
Steve Koerner started in football at tackle and was a pitcher on the baseball team, while Max Roeder started at guard in basketball and at shortstop in baseball.
Roeder said he enjoyed playing for his coaches, Lloyd “Barney” Scott in basketball and John Britton in baseball.
“Being from this community, growing up I loved sports and I wanted to play sports,” Roeder said. “My brother (Jim) played for Barney, and I always wanted to play basketball for Seymour and for Barney. I’m glad I had the opportunity to play for a man like that.
“Barney made you respect him. He was a great teacher and disciplinarian. He taught you the game. He was a great individual and everything he accomplished. To have the opportunity to grow under him was special.”
Roeder recalled that neither he nor Andy Denny were in the starting lineup the first game of the 1965-66 season, but both worked their way into the rotation early in the season.
Mike Russell topped the Owls in scoring that season with 340 points, Denny was second with 315, and Ron Metz and Roeder both scored 251.
Roeder said he also had a lot of fun and enjoyment playing baseball.
“Coach Britton liked baseball, and I’m glad I got to play for him,” he said. “John had just came out of Hanover College. He loved to work with young men and he knew the game of baseball. Russell, (Steve) Schrink and me, he made us jell. He made us better men.
“When you respect guys like that you want to do well. Steve (Koerner) and I talked about that Saturday night. Those were fun years.”
Seymour needed to win the baseball tournament to win the all-sports trophy.
Koerner was the winning pitcher in a 3-0 win over Franklin in the semifinals.
Seymour then defeated Shelbyville 2-0 in the championship game as Tom Sutton and Schrink combined to pitch a one-hitter.
The Owls clinched the all-sports trophy with the win against Franklin.
Schrink topped the Owls in hitting at .404, and Sutton was the leading pitcher with a record of 5-1.
Koerner remembered the opening game of the football season when the Owls played Muncie Southside.
“We got beat by them (19-13) on a run right along our bench,” Koerner said. “Somebody on the bench said ‘maybe we should have tripped him, maybe he wouldn’t have scored the winning touchdown.
“Coach (Dick) Mace made us work, and if we did not work we paid for it. He made us run 100-yard dashes every time we got beat. What I remember more about the football season than anything else, we played Bloomington and lost fairly handily (46-0). We ended up playing Columbus, and they had a quarterback named Mike Phipps. (Phipps went on to play at Purdue and in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns).
“I still remember ‘Bullet’ Bob Beatty stood Phipps up and you could hear this ‘oomph’ throughout the whole stadium. We stopped their drive and won (27-21), and Columbus ended up beating Bloomington, so we tied for first. It was a good season (6-3), and the thing that is so sad is that a lot of those guys are gone now.”
Russell topped the Owls in scoring with 103 points and Schrink was next with 19 points.
Koerner said Mace made the football players run laps, with their football equipment on, around the school grounds, all the way over to Westgate Road and around the football field.
The SCC baseball tournament was played at Columbus.
“The unique thing about (the baseball tournament), we had the prom the night before, and I remember Coach Britton give us strict rules that we had to be in.” Koerner said he and other players missed that curfew by a few hours.
Korner said he changed from his tux into his baseball uniform, got on the bus and went to Columbus and shut out Franklin “and it didn’t affect me.”
“It was a good tournament and I was very happy about that,” he said. “It was nice to say we were one of two classes to win the South Central all-sports trophy. That was an accomplishment that we were really proud of. Coach Mace and Coach Britton are two of the best coaches I ever played for.”
Russell was named the Lettermen’s Club Outstanding High School athlete. He was all-conference in football, basketball and baseball, and he play professional baseball in the Chicago Cubs organization.
Other Owls to make the all SCC team were Metz and Larry Kaufman in football, Denny (three times) in basketball and Schrink in baseball.
Most valuable players were Metz in football, Bernie Emkes for cross-country, Denny (basketball), Russell (baseball), Steve Richardson (track), Kieffer Voss (golf), Mike Brown (tennis) and Mike Rogers in wrestling.
“I thought the SCC was the toughest conference in the state,” Roeder said. “That’s what sports is all about, to play and have fun.”