Forming bonds: Camaraderie part of sport’s appeal

For The Tribune

High school athletes enjoy playing football for difference reasons.

Seymour’s Cailen Shepherd said the reason he likes football is getting along with his teammates.

“The fun part about football is how much of a bond you get with your teammates and how close you get from all the hard work,” he said.

Cailen also said it’s nice having a twin brother, Coby, on the team.

Cailen starts at right tackle, and Coby is at center.

“Something both of us have always wanted to do is start varsity on the same line,” Cailen said.

Cailen said the brothers have the same group of friends, which are mainly the offensive linemen.

Shepherd began his football career in fourth grade playing in the PAL (Police Athletic League) in Columbus.

After playing in the Seymour Elementary League and on the Seymour Middle School team, he joined the freshman team the first half of the following season.

He was then moved up to starting for the varsity the last part of the 2013 season and has been there ever since.

He started at center his sophomore year and has been at right tackle the past two seasons.

“I’m a little bit quicker than (Jared) Whipker, and he’s bigger so he fit the guard roll better, and we just switched,” Shepherd said.

Assignment change each play for Shepherd.

“It all comes down to what we’re running,” he said. “When we’re in pass (pro formation), I just protect Alan (Perry, quarterback). When we’re running I try to make holes, I usually block the defensive end.

“It’s always exciting to put up a lot of points, to be able to score, because I know I helped contribute to it.”

The Owls are 9-5 since the Brownstown Central game a year ago.

“I think we figured out how to win,” Shepherd said. “That’s a big part of it, knowing how to, and we’re putting it together. We need a lot of focus on the field and watching film. Practice is always very important because that’s where you learn what the opponents do and what you need to do.”

The Owls are in their first season playing on the turf at Bulleit Stadium, and Shepherd says he enjoys the home games.

“The turf is really nice. It’s a big change from what we had before,” he said. “I’ve noticed I can get a better grip than on our old field. The turf makes it a lot nicer.”

Shepherd, who is 6-4, tries to use his height to his advantage.

“It helps because normally the bigger you are, the longer your arms are, but also going against a smaller defensive lineman you have to sink your hips and get low,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd said he has enjoyed being a student at Seymour High School.

Shepherd File

Name: Cailen Shepherd

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Jim and Melinda Shepherd

Siblings: Chloe, Carson and Coby

Sports: Football, four years

Athletic highlights: All-Hoosier Hills Conference honorable mention

Organizations: Latin Club

Plans after high school: Attend college

Favorite food: Mexican

Favorite musician: Lil Dicky

Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts

Catch the Owls

What: Seymour (4-3) at New Albany (5-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Buerk Field

Radio: 92.7 Nash Icon

Last outing: Seymour def. Jennings County 30-19, New Albany def. Jeffersonville 42-14.

Most recent meeting: Seymour won 42-26 on Oct. 9, 2015.

Series past 30 years: Seymour 11-8.

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.