There’s only 24 teams left playing high school in the state of Indiana. There’s only four teams left playing football in Class 2A. The Southmont Mounties are one of those 24 and final four teams after what can only be described as a sensational post-season. The Mounties now find themselves playing in the semi-state after capturing the schools first sectional and regional titles in program history. It’s a team that is led by a senior class that has absolutely zero quit and 100% grit.
Wednesday night, South held a community pep session and not only did the Southmont community show up but so did Montgomery County. Southmont coach Desson Hannum along with seniors Wyatt Woodall and Waylon Gomez addressed the crowd. There was also something the Mounties put on called ‘smashing the competition’ where players smashed various watermelons with a sledgehammer that had the teams names of the opponents that South had beaten on their post-season run.
Afterwards both Hannum and Woodall spoke about the support that they’ve continued to receive.
“There’s nothing that can rally a community more than a successful sports team,” Hannum said. “That’s what we’ve been able to do and we’ve had the backing of almost every single person in this community. The support of our parents, the Southmont community and Montgomery County has been outstanding. You see things like this in small communities that everyone wants to be a part of it because it’s a fun an exciting time. Our kids deserve everything that’s happened over the last several weeks. You really enjoy moments like this because it shows the impact that we’ve had on a lot people.”
Woodall is one of the leaders of a group of 12 seniors who as the coaches say ‘playing for the pads and their careers’. Not only is he a leader on the field, but at the pep session he made sure that everyone in attendance who have been a part of the journey got their thanks. That stems from his teammates, to his coaches, the cheerleaders, the student section, and the Southmont faculty.
“To see all of this in person was phenomenal,” Woodall said. “You can have all the social media congrats and what not but to see it personified was very special. This team has an incredible brotherhood and it stems all the way down to our freshman. We’re all playing for every single person on this team and that’s the real thing that’s driven us this entire post-season is playing for each other.”
Southmont comes into the semi-state with a record of 8-5 on the season. Their opponent North Posey is 12-1 and the No. 4 ranked team (AP Poll) in Class 2A . At this point however, the records and ranking don’t mean anything when you’re playing for a spot in the state title game. The Mounties have embraced the underdog role and the ‘why not us’ mentality over the last few weeks. It’s safe to say that mentality has been working so far.
“We’re the new guy here that nobody knows,” Woodall added. “We’re hungry to go out there and win and none of the polls, predictors or anyone else besides us really thought we’d win and didn’t really respect us. At this point it doesn’t matter what anyone’s record is because if we cared about records then we wouldn’t be here.”
While Southmont’s focus is now solely on the Vikings of North Posey, Hannum has also had another message to his team. Simply enjoy the moment.
“Winning the sectional was really what got everyone excited about what we’re doing,” he said. “Then to have the crowd that we had at the Regional, we told the kids to soak in every one of these moments. You’re the reason that this is here and why you play the game of football. We’ve really talked about taking just one week at a time. We’re playing for that week and continuing to do what’s got us here to this point.”
Southmont has been battered and bruised all throughout the post-season. Against Sullivan they suffered a multitude of injuries but time and time again, someone has been there to answer the call and step up. Sophomore Avery Stadler has been that guy recently. He stepped in for when Woodall suffered his toe injury and carried the ball well. Last week against Eastern Hancock, he stepped in at linebacker and recovered a fumble and blocked an extra point.
The Mounties can also make an argument they’ve been in the closest games of any team left in the state. In the sectional Southmont has not beaten an opponent by more than 11 points. They were 32-21 winners over Sullivan then had back-to-back weeks where they won in thrilling overtime fashion. South went for two and the win vs Cascade in the sectional semi-finals and then stopped Linton-Stockton’s two point attempt to capture the sectional title 36-34. In the Regional vs Eastern Hancock, the Mounties won only be a touchdown at 41-34. Southmont hasn’t survived in these close games, they’ve thrived in them.
As they have been for much of this post-season, most of the outside of Montgomery County aren’t picking the Mounties to topple the Vikings. John Harrell has the final score at 38-21 North Posey while the IndyStar has the game at 24-17 also in favor of the Vikings.
That’s perfectly fine with the Mounties as they know they have the team to lineup and compete against anyone.
“As we’ve moved along we’ve just gotten better as a team,” Hannum said. “We’re gaining more confidence each and every week and as you gain confidence you start to show that out on the field and I’ve been really proud of what these kids have done. The resiliency time and time again to come through in close games shows how determined this team is right now.”
The Mounties with a win on Saturday would play under the bright lights of Lucas Oil Stadium at the State Finals. It’s something that every player dreams of doing growing up and now to be this close, Woodall knows they still have one more obstacle in front of them.
“My oldest brother got to play at Lucas Oil in 2012 vs Lebanon and I remember being there and seeing what the atmosphere was like and telling myself ‘one of these days I’m going to be here’,” Woodall said. “I want to be the one to play for a state title because it would be a dream come true. We still have one more game before that and can’t focus on what that would be like just yet. We’re focused on North Posey and Saturday night and bringing home another trophy for Southmont.”
JR Sports and your Crawfordsville radio station (106.3 WCDQ) will have live coverage and updates from Poseyville on Saturday night as the Mounties vie for a spot in the state championship game. Bob Cox and Jared McMurry will go on the air around 4:30 (EST) with the pre-game while JR Sports on Twitter will have live video highlights as well.