For The Tribune

Jackson County’s football rivalry became a rivalry again Friday night.

After three years of true dominance by Brownstown Central, Seymour’s football team emerged from its recent dormancy and claimed a rollicking 38-30 victory against the Braves.

The Owls (1-5) exploded for 30 second-half points, then held off a comeback attempt by a determined Brownstown squad. Friday’s win by the Owls snapped a four-game series win streak by Brownstown (4-2).

“(Brownstown) beat us by 61 points 12 months ago,” Seymour head coach Josh Shattuck said, referring to Brownstown Central’s 75-14 win in 2014. “To turn it around by 69 points is not coaching. It’s drive, it’s motivation, it’s a willingness by our players to work, to improve.”

From the game’s opening, Seymour showed it could move the ball against Brownstown’s defense. The Owls’ first two drives traveled deep into BC territory, but were cut short by an interception at the Braves’ 20 yard line and a turnover on downs on the Brownstown 7.

The breakthrough for the Owls came in the second quarter and carried until the fourth. Seymour scored on five straight possessions and flipped an 8-0 Brownstown lead into a commanding 38-22 Owls advantage with 6:48 left in the game.

“We were moving the ball really well, it was just a matter of finishing our drives,” Seymour quarterback Alan Perry said. “After we got the first (touchdown), we got a feel for (scoring). Getting that first one helped.”

Seymour presented a balanced attack against Brownstown’s defense, rushing the ball for 200 yards and throwing for 219 yards. The Owls controlled the ball for nearly twice as long as the Braves.

“You’ve got to give Seymour credit. They did some nice things on offense,” Brownstown head coach Reed May said. “They executed really well and pulled a few wrinkles on us, some things we hadn’t seen. They did a great job against our defense.”

In a sign of just how successful Brownstown’s football program has been under May’s leadership, Friday’s loss to Seymour, coupled with last Friday’s defeat at North Harrison, marked just the third time over the last 22 years that the Braves have lost consecutive games.

The last time Brownstown suffered back-to-back losses came in 2009.

“Defensively, we’ve got to look at some things,” May said. “This is two weeks in a row we’ve given up 38 points.”

Offensively, the Braves came to life in the second quarter. After stopping Seymour on the Braves’ 7-yard line, Brownstown assembled a 10-play, 93-yard drive that ended with a 34-yard touchdown run by senior John McKinney.

The Braves then stopped Seymour on a three-and-out series and appeared ready to take control of the game. After working the ball to the Owls 6 yard line, the Braves fumbled the ball into Owls linebacker Zach Carpenter’s hands, a fumble recovery that started a memorable night for the 5-foot-9 junior.

Seymour engineered a 14-play, 94-yard drive that Carpenter capped with a 5-yard touchdown run, tying the game at 8-8 just before halftime.

On the Owls’ first play of the second half, Carpenter struck again, faking or outmaneuvering four Brownstown defenders on a 68-yard run to the BC 4 yard line. Two plays later, Carpenter plunged in from two yards out to give Seymour its first lead, 14-8.

“I felt like I had another gear in me tonight,” Carpenter said. “In practice, coach Shattuck is always telling us to be physical. That’s what we did tonight.”

Carpenter ended the night with a game-high 129 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.

Once they got the lead, the Owls kept the pressure on Brownstown. On the kickoff following Carpenter’s TD, the Owls recovered an onside kick and scored again, this time on a 17-yard Perry-to-Chris Knight pass.

Leading 22-8, Seymour chose to kick down field on the ensuing kickoff, only to watch Brownstown Central’s scoring machine Gavin Bane return the ball 77 yards for a touchdown that narrowed Seymour’s 14 point lead to 22-16.

“They are so tough,” Shattuck said of the Braves. “They returned that kickoff. Later, they got stops when they needed them. They never quit.”

Seymour displayed its own toughness after Bane’s return. The Owls responded with another long drive, this time 12 plays over six minutes that covered 69 yards. Luke Dover ran nine yards for a touchdown that increased the lead to 30-16.

But Bane struck again. The junior got behind Seymour’s defense and took a perfectly thrown Kyle Kramer pass 34 yards for a Braves touchdown that closed the gap to 30-22.

The Owls answered with a long TD pass of their own, however, when Perry hit Carpenter on a 32-yard pass with 6:48 to go to restore the lead to 38-22.

With the game seemingly in hand, Seymour had to survive Brownstown’s persistence. The Braves halved the lead to 38-30 when Kramer connected with Cam Shoemaker on a two-yard scoring pass.

After forcing a Seymour punt, Brownstown quickly marched to the Owl 28 yard line. But the Braves’ comeback was thwarted by Knight, who intercepted a tipped Kramer pass at the Seymour 22 yard line.

“I saw the ball get tipped and knew it was my ball,” Knight said. “It was the best feeling in the world.”

Perry finished the night with 219 yards and two TDs on 18-for-25 passing.

“I would not trade any quarterback in the state for Alan Perry,” Shattuck declared. “What he does for us is amazing.”

For BC, Kramer had his best night of the season, throwing for 161 yards on 10-for-16 passing. Kramer also led Brownstown in rushing with 72 yards on 15 carries.

Dover was Seymour’s busiest receiver with six catches for 67 yards. Shoemaker paced BC’s receivers with six catches for 75 yards.

Defensively, Knight finished with a game-high 10 tackles for Seymour to go along with his game-ending interception. Todd Kiewitt also intercepted a Kramer pass while adding a sack and two tackles for loss.

For BC, Jacob Brewer led with nine tackles. Ryan Benter chipped in a sack, while Matt Nierman had an interception.

“They outplayed us tonight,” May said of Seymour’s effort. “I’m glad for Josh. He’s been struggling, but you can tell on film that they’re getting better and better. Tonight, they enjoyed the fruits of their labors.”

Shattuck, meanwhile, kept perspective on the meaning on his team’s victory.

“At the end of the day, we’re a 1-5 team,” he said. “But this was a huge step in the right direction.”

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