High school football 2023 preview: Get to know Mahomet-Seymour

Aug. 24—Love of the game

Jack Gallier wasn't an immediate star on the gridiron. But Mahomet-Seymour's standout senior quickly climbed the ladder after picking up the sport to become a first-team all-Apollo Conference selection as a defensive lineman last season. He and teammate Luke Johnson began their high school careers as rare freshman to suit up for coach Jon Adkins at the varsity level. "I didn't really like the game of football at all," Gallier said. "I just played it just to play it. But like, I mean, football is my life now." That comes with plenty of practice for the senior standout. "I go up to the field at least three times a week," Gallier said. "I'm in the weight room four times a week and just overall, I'm just trying to get (better at football) and just be a better me."

Season outlook

Mahomet-Seymour hasn't lost a regular-season game since DATE and figures to stack up well yet again within the Apollo Conference. The Bulldogs will open their season with a nonconference tilt against Morton; the Potters eliminated the Bulldogs in the quarterfinal round of the Class 5A playoffs in 2021 before the Bulldogs extracted revenge in a 51-14 victory to open last season. They'll also take two nonconference trips to Quincy; to face Quincy Notre Dame on Sep. 8 and Class 7A contender Quincy to close the regular season on Oct. 20. "Who else is raising their hand to play a 7A school, you know what I mean?" Adkins said. "But we are, because again, that's exactly where we want to take our program to the next level, to the next step, and get our kids prepared and ready to go for a Morris-type game."

Playoffs ... or bust

Mahomet-Seymour is eying its third consecutive playoff appearance after finishing 3-3 in the pandemic-shortened Spring 2021 season and missing the postseason at 4-5 in 2019, Adkins' first year with the program. A clean bill of health for Johnson, who has missed portions of his high school career due to injury, will help anchor the tailback position. "I feel the, the strongest, the fastest and the biggest I've ever been," Johnson said. "I'm like 200 pounds right now, around there and I just like, I feel fast, I'm quick." Johnson's drive stems in part from how much success the program has enjoyed over the last two seasons. "It motivates me more to work hard in the offseason to just make sure that we don't disappoint those fans," Johnson said. "It's a really great feeling to just go out there on Friday nights and have everybody cheering for you, it motivates you to play hard."

Odds and ends

Some teams hit the town to celebrate a big win. Yet for as many significant triumphs as the Bulldogs have had in the last two seasons, the Bulldogs don't stray far from the field after games. "Usually after games, they do tailgates at home games," Gallier said. "They cook some really good food." The spread — provided by parents — includes everything from macaroni and cheese to burgers and even included an entire pig at the Bulldogs' home opener a year ago. All that's left to do afterward is prepare for more football. "I'm going straight to bed to watch college football on that Saturday," Gallier said. "So I'll be on my couch just watching college football the whole day."