If you came into Jackson Bowl XII looking for an offensive display, you got your money’s worth.
The Seymour and Brownstown Central high school football teams combined for 78 points and 809 total offensive yards in a thriller at Blevins Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
After trailing through most of the game, the Owls outscored the Braves 20-0 in the fourth quarter to come away with a 44-34 non-conference road win.
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The win for SHS evened the series, since it restarted in 2007, at 6-6.
After the teams traded possessions to open the game, the Braves (5-1) went 79 yards on 11 plays to open up the scoring.
On their own 45, Braves quarterback Hayden Kinsler hit Derek Thompson for a 39 yard pass to get to the Owls’ red zone. The Braves ran the ball the next five plays, with Braeden Walker pushing in a 3-yard touchdown with 1:03 left in the first quarter. After a kick by Ethan Sevakis, the Braves led 7-0.
Seymour (5-2) took the ball into the second quarter on its own 24.
After getting stopped on third down, the Owls punted with 11:15 on the clock. On the attempt, the Braves’ Luke Shelton blocked the punt and returned it 17 yards to get to the Owls’ 4-yard line.
The Owls were able to keep the Braves out of the end zone, but a 21-yard kick by Sevakis put them up 10-0 with 9:57 on the clock.
Seymour got its offense rolling on the next drive, as they went 49 yards for a score. From the Braves’ 23, Seymour QB Brendan Smith threw the ball up high to the middle of the end zone. His receiver, Ely Henderson, rose above a BC defensive back and came down with the circus catch to cut into the deficit. After a missed extra point, the Braves led 10-6 with 6:51 on the clock.
Both teams used big-time plays to put more points on the board before intermission.
With 1:08 left in the half, Kinsler punted for 55 yards to the Owls’ 2-yard line. On the Owls’ drive Smith hit a wide open Cameron James for 87 yards. After a 2-yard run, Smith faked a hand-off and rolled left for a touchdown. The Owls missed the extra point, but led 12-10.
A short kick by the Owls had the Braves start on their own 40. The Braves got down to Seymour’s 43, with 5.2 seconds left, before coming up with an improbable score.
On the final play of the half, Kinsler launched the ball all 43 yards to a double-covered Thompson at the pylon. The ball popped up on the play, and Thompson came down with it for the Hail Mary touchdown. A jump pass from Kinsler found Seth Borden before the players went to the locker room, as the Braves held an 18-12 lead at the break.
Both offenses were red hot in the third quarter.
On the Owls’ opening drive, a 45-yard run by O’Mara helped SHS get to the Braves’ goal line. On the one, Smith used a QB sneak to tie the game at 18. The Owls failed to convert the 2-point conversion with 9:58 left in the third quarter.
After a penalty on the kickoff, the Braves used two plays, over 22 seconds, to add another score. On the Owls’ 34, Walker found an opening and took it to the house to put the Braves up 25-18.
On the ensuing drive, Thompson blocked a punt to set up a 27-yard field goal by Sevakis with 6:20 on the clock. Once the ball went through the uprights, the Braves led 28-18.
O’Mara helped the Owls drive 65 yards, on runs of 20-, 11-, and 10-yards. O’Mara scored from 10 yards, and the 2-point failed, as the Owls trailed 28-24 with 5:44 on the clock.
The Braves added another score before going into the fourth quarter, as they drove 61 yards on five plays. Thompson broke a pair of tackles for a 16-yard TD, but missed the kick, to lead 34-24.
Before the start of the fourth, Smith hit Elijah Corwin on back-to-back passes before the start of the fourth quarter, for 53 yards, to get to the Braves’ 8-yard line.
SHS then went into another gear.
On the first play of the final quarter, O’Mara scampered the eight for a TD. Smith ran in the 2-point to cut the deficit to 34-32.
After the Owls forced the Braves to punt, Smith was intercepted on a pass by Seth Borden with 9:10 to play. The Braves weren’t able to capitalize, however, as they punted again.
On their own 41, on one play, O’Mara ran for a 51-yard TD to put the Owls up 38-34 with 8:09 remaining.
On the Braves’ next drive, Kinsler was intercepted by Ezra Barr after two plays.
The Owls again took advantage, as they added another score on two plays. On the score, O’Mara went 26 yards for a TD with 6:12 left in the game.
“I think they got tired, honestly. I think we wore them down,” Owls coach Mike Kelly said. “ Nathan is just going to do what Nathan does. He is just a tough, physical kid. He made those hard-yardage runs.”
The Braves had nine offensive plays before turning the ball over on downs with 2:57 on the clock, as they couldn’t muster a comeback.
“They basically ran three plays in the second half,” Braves coach Reed May said. “We couldn’t stop them. You’ve got to give credit to them. We just didn’t make the plays.”
SHS then used its ground-and-pound to run out the clock.
O’Mara, who had just 30 yards at half, finished with 273 on the ground, with four touchdowns and 261 yards. O’Mara had just 30 yards at half.
“We were trying to pick ourselves up (in the second half),” O’Mara said. “We just had to think the score was zero to zero. We just had to fight.
“Our running plays started to work, and the offensive line executed very well. That is basically all there was to it.”
Smith was 5-for-12 for 174 yards through the air and had 57 rushing yards on 15 carries.
“My goal for us tonight was to play with courage and never stop,” Kelly said. “I wanted us to play with tenacity and toughness. I wanted us to give it our all.”
For the Braves, Kinsler passed for 159 yards, going 11-for-25. On the ground, Walker had nine rushes for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Thompson had 14 carries for 61 yards and three catches for 87 receiving yards.