FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Owls, Braves set for sectional semifinals in Week 11


Both the Seymour and Brownstown Central High School football teams are still alive in Week 11.

The Owls are coming off a sectional bye while the Braves posted a dominating victory last week.

Owls hope to shock Olympians

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With a week of rest and prep behind them, Seymour is hungry to get back on the gridiron.

The Owls (6-3) look to knock off the defending Class 5A state champions on Friday night, as they travel to Columbus East for the semifinals of Sectional 15.

The No. 3 Olympians (8-2) are coming off a 31-16 win against No. 16 New Albany (5-5). They are riding an eight-game winning streak, and haven’t lost a game since Aug. 24.

Against the Bulldogs, East back Mark McDonald had 126 rushing yards on 24 carries while quarterback Cole Gilley completed 11 of 14 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

East led 17-3 at intermission before adding a score to start the second half to go up 24-3. Right before halftime, the Olympians came up with a potential game-changing play, as they stopped the Bulldogs on the 1-yard line to keep it a two score game.

On Aug. 31, the Olympians beat the Owls 42-6.

The Olympians scored on their first five possessions in the first half to build a 35-0 lead. East shredded Seymour through the air, as Gilley threw three touchdowns in the first quarter. He would finish with 246 total passing yards while McDonald had 116 yards on the ground.

Seymour coach Mike Kelly said the Olympians’ offensive line is tough to handle, and that the running game can open up the passing.

“Their run game is so dominant. Their tailback did a nice job of running the inside and outside zone,” he said. “Their offensive line gets off the ball well, and gets on blocks. Sometimes it can be deceptive in that they aren’t moving the line of scrimmage as much as they’re covering people up and staying on. They are like a tick. They do a great job in that regard.”

Running back Nathan O’Mara finished with 127 rushing yards on 33 attempts and quarterback Brendan Smith had 22 on eight runs for the Owls in that game. Smith finished 5-for-9 through the air for 50 yards with an interception.

The Owls’ lone touchdown came with 5:41 left in the game on a run by Smith.

SHS struggled to get any offensive momentum in the first game. Kelly expects a better showing from his group the second time around.

“We need to stay on blocks. We need to believe, do the thins we do well, and in the process and stick to what we do well,” Kelly said. “It is no secret that we run the ball. We also want to also look for deep shot opportunities when they present themselves. We will have to be aware of how many guys they have in the box.”

The Olympians had 499 offensive yards to the Owls’ 214 in the Week 3 matchup.

“I believe that our whole team is better than what we were in that game,” Kelly said. “I think it’s important that our guys have some confidence. We are not the same team as the one we were in Week 3. We’re not a new team, but we’re a more confident team.”

The last time the Owls beat the Olympians was in the 2005 sectional. That season, the Olympians, ranked No. 1 in the state, were 9-0 before the Owls stunned them by winning 28-13.

“We can get this done if we’re willing to work, push and get after it,” Kelly said.

The winner will play the victor of Bedford North Lawrence (7-2) at Floyd Central (5-4) in next week’s finals. SHS would play at home if both they, and the Highlanders, win this week. If SHS and BNL both win, the Owls would go to Bedford.

Braves aim for second win over Lions

It’s not easy to beat a team twice in any sport.

Last Friday, Class 3A No. 15 Charlestown (7-3) found that out the hard way, as they fell to Salem (6-4) 27-20. On Oct. 5, the Pirates bludgeoned the Lions 37-14.

No. 7 Brownstown Central (9-1) will go to Salem on Friday for Sectional 31 semifinals play, as they’re coming off a 55-13 win over Corydon Central (3-7).

In the first matchup, on Sept. 7, the Braves posted a 48-13 win at Salem.

BCHS scored 21 points in the second quarter to build a 28-7 lead at half. They then added 20 more points in the third quarter.

In that game, Braves junior QB Hayden Kinsler went 8-for-11 throwing for 212 yards and three touchdowns. The Braves also had 244 rushing yards that contest among 12 different rushers.

“We had some big plays early,” Brownstown coach Reed May said. “We had some big plays, but you can’t count on every week. They will probably play better passing defense this time, giving Kinsler more credit going in. We need to adjust and go from there.”

Against CHS, Lions junior QB Brandon Corbin went 16-for-25 for 283 yards with two passing touchdowns and two rushing scores. Salem led 21-6 at the half and added six more points in the third quarter. Corbin also led the team with 39 rushing yards.

“We need to play assignment football,” May said. “Against Corydon, we had a good game plan, but we had some missed assignments. Any time you play a team like Salem, you have option responsibility. Plus, they have different formations, so you need to make sure you have the right coverage or they will have guys wide open. We have some different packages we are working on to get ready.”

The Lions operate out of an option offense. May said that the Lions are the only team they’ve faced that run the option.

“Their skill athletes are good and their quarterback is throwing the ball really well,” May said. “He started as a sophomore last year and is a tremendous athlete.”

The Lions had the tough task of defending the state’s leading rusher, Marion Lukes, last week. Lukes had 218 rushing yards, including 85 in the first half.

“They have a lot you have to prepare for,” May said of Salem. “They have a lot of formations. Against Charlestown, they did a great job defensively. They prepared. It is always hard to beat a team twice.”

Salem has lost 16 straight games to the Braves. The last time the Lions beat the Braves was in the 2005 season.

Should the Braves win, they will host next week’s sectional championship no matter what.

The upper bracket will have Lawrenceburg (5-5) playing at Batesville (8-2) on Friday. Lawrenceburg lost an overtime thriller 33-30, on Sept. 21, against the Bulldogs.

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