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A brotherhood of ‘high character’

Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 at 8:00 am

From left, Coach Jud Dryden, SCHS football member Ean Matusek, and Principal Charlie Pope. (Photo by Zoe Watkins)


A presentation was made at Thursday night’s Board of Education meeting, acknowledging the accomplishments of the Shelbyville Central High football team.

The presentation was made by Principal Charlie Pope, Coach Jud Dryden, and football player Ean Matusek.

Together, the team and coaches turned what they thought would be a 5-5, 6-4, or maybe 7-3 season, into a 10-2 season, second-round playoff bid, and region title.

“Wins and losses are going to ebb and flow. Many of you know that very well,” said Pope. “We experience some of the lows, but the character is something that’s going to build upon regardless.”

Coach Dryden said, “Not one time did any of these guys lose faith. They saw the progress we were making, the successes we were having under the scoreboard and not on the scoreboard.”

Principal Pope talked about some things that “don’t always get reported” but should be recognized. “We’re blessed to have a lot of high character people, and we’re grateful for that,” he said.

He recalled how when they were looking for a football coach, they were looking for someone with a “high-character.”

SCHS administration didn’t have far to look. Coach Dryden, who is also in physical education at SCHS, accepted the position of head football coach in 2022.

“What he brought to the table was more than just X’s, O’s and Jimmy Joes. It was character development; it was a plan,” said Pope.

During the presentation, Dryden talked about how three members of the football staff are born and raised in the area. “And have come back to help us,” he said. They also have an offense coordinator from California who Dryden says is another high-character guy. They also have another coach from New York as well as a former Tullahoma coach.

“It’s been an absolute blessing to see how things have all been put together,” Dryden said.

Highlights of the season also include the team’s over 1200 hours of community service, from reading outreach programs to parking cars for First Choice’s Fish Fry.

“It goes back to the heart of who we want to be and what we are as a group, as a family, as a brotherhood of young men — that we want to train them to be not only productive adults but to understand those things required of a man in this world,” said Dryden.

Those requirements are honor, integrity, commitment and sacrifice, which are often not talked about, according to Dryden.

“We feel like that is what we bring to the table each and every day,” he said.

During the presentation, Dryden motioned to a young man beside him, Ean Matusek. Dryden said Matusek, a junior, is a good example as he is on the leadership council and a good team leader overall.

“There’s a lot of comradery you all have built as a team,” said board member Shanna Boyette. “I see it at the end when they all come together and sing the school anthem. It’s been a privilege as a spectator.”

“I’ve just been so impressed with the team, the coaches, all the cheerleaders, all the band—everyone associated with this football season. We had a great year,” said Superintendent Tammy Garrett. “To see the community spirit that we had at Shelbyville Central High School through the football season was really a joy.”

A game ball, which was used to score the last touchdown, was given to school board member Barton Williams, who has helped clean up the SCHS campus by picking up trash voluntarily.