Jackson Bowl XII another game to remember


The Jackson Bowl means a lot to the Seymour and Brownstown Central football programs, and Friday night’s battle at Blevins Stadium was no exception.

The Owls, behind Nathan O’Mara’s three fourth-quarter touchdowns, rallied to outscore the Braves 20-0 in the fourth period to pull out a 44-34 win and even the bowl standings at 6-6.

The Braves had only given up 34 points in their first five games of the season.

The Braves were hoping to go unbeaten on their new turf field this fall, and the loss was especially hard on seniors Luke Shelton and Robbie Branaman.

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On the other side, Seymour seniors Devin Hill and Haden Mettert were all smiles after the game as they saw their team win for the third time in the past four years.

Both teams have things to fix going forward, as the Braves gave up seven touchdowns and almost 500 yards of offense, and the Owls were successful on only one of seven extra-point tries and gave up a Hail Mary at the end of the first half.

Shelton, a two-way starter, said, “It’s a great atmosphere. I would have loved to come out with a win, obviously. The fans do a great job coming out and supporting the team.”

He said his defensive assignment as far as tackling O’Mara depended on the formation honestly.

“A lot of the time, I was following where he was going, maintaining the gap if they were going to try to bounce out and make them go lateral instead of up and down,” he said. “They did a good job of making halftime adjustments. I wish we could have come out and trumped with that, too. It is what it is, I guess. The intensity definitely has to pick up.”

Hill felt Seymour did a great job against the Braves.

“Both our offense and defense came out and gave 110 percent,” Hill said. “We left everything out there and we got the W, so that’s good.”

Hill, who changes between outside and middle linebacker, said the Owls made some defensive changes at halftime.

“The defensive tackle and I maneuvered around and moved the defensive tackle outside to force the ball into me every time,” Hill said. “That helped us out a lot. I give credit to coach (Brian) Balsmeyer. He’s had us in watching film. He had us studying film for a while now, and it paid off. We’re going to keep getting better, we’re going to keep growing and we’re going to keep winning.”

Branaman said the Jackson Bowl is a big deal for bragging rights.

He is a two-way starter at left tackle on offense and right end on defense.

“It was just a few defensive and offensive mistakes that we made,” he said. “We need to learn from our mistakes and improve and make sure we beat the rest of the teams.”

The Braves (5-1) will host Clarksville Friday for a Mid-Southern Conference game.

For the Jackson Bowl, the stands in the stadium were filled, and people were standing around the outside of the fence.

Mettert said he enjoyed playing in front of the large crowd.

“I love everything about the Jackson Bowl,” he said. “I love the crowd. They have a huge crowd for this, and it’s a different mindset for everybody. This game is like nothing else.

“At the end of the day, it’s just another opponent, but it’s still a different mindset and a different kind of game. It’s a great feeling to win. There is nothing like it. That’s why we play the game.”

The Owls outscored the Braves 32-16 in the second half.

“We ran a lot to the backside. We just knuckled down and got willed.” Mettert said about adjustments the Owls made in the second half. “They had speed on us, and we had strength, and they had a lot more players going both ways. We were fresher than they were at the end.”

The Owls (4-2) will host Jennings County Friday night for homecoming.

“Our goal is to go undefeated at home this year,” Mettert said. “That was one of the goals the seniors set at the beginning of the season, so that’s huge for us. Their turf is nice and all, but you can’t beat home turf.”

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