Football is more than a game at SHS

Football is more than a game at SHS

When Scottsburg High School sophomore Skylar Combs is on the football field, he forgets all his problems.

“Football helped me forget about those things,” Combs said. “It helped me find new friends and make a new family.”

As a small child, Combs said his biological father chose a different path than being the father Combs said he needed.

“My dad was not the best in the world,” Combs said. “I can still remember looking out the back window and seeing my dad.”

After Combs’ mother and father separated, he grew up feeling isolated, angry, and alone.

“I used to have really bad anger issues,” Combs said. “Football helped me channel my anger and not care about anything when I am out there.”

On the football field, Combs found catharsis and camaraderie in the game. His teammates became what he considers his new family — his brothers. His coach became a father-figure to him, and Combs calls his coach, Kyle Mullins, “dad.”

“Football allowed me to meet a whole bunch of people. They’ve become pretty much my brothers. We hang out after school, go to movies, and go outside play football,” Combs said. “It’s one of my best decisions. It helped me in so many things in my life.”

For Combs and his teammates, the football program at Scottsburg High School does more than just teach the fundamentals of the game.

“People think Scottsburg doesn’t have some of the problems of the inner city,” said Mullins, who coached football in the inner city of Indianapolis before coming to Scottsburg. “My role a lot of times is counselor, dean, sometimes dad… There are many single-parent households here, where we play the role of dad.”

While Mullins would love to have an undefeated season and bring back the accolades that come with it, the goal of the program Mullins runs is not to focus on winning alone. It’s to rise above the negative outcomes that the world has to offer. He is trying to raise up a group of men who leave with a high school diploma, find gainful employment, and raise a family.

“It’d be nice to be undefeated. We are trying to help these young men become productive members of society and instill values to become that,” Mullins said. “High school football should not be the biggest thing you accomplish in life.”

The football program is more than just a game to the students, families, players, and coaches at Scottsburg High School — it’s a family and a program focused on helping build up its players for the future after the Friday Night Lights go dark. At Scott County School District 2, Schindler’s story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.