Tough finish: No. 10 Owls fall to No. 3 Olympians in sectional semis



A sluggish start doomed Seymour High School’s football team in the Class 5A Sectional 15 semifinals on Friday night.

No. 3 Columbus East scored on seven of nine possessions to post a 49-13 win over the Owls.

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In the opening quarter, the Owls (6-4) had just 12 positive yards of offense on 10 plays.

The Olympians (9-2) scored on six straight possessions in the first half after the Owls halted them on their opening drive.

After trading opening possessions, the Olympians went 87 yards on 11 plays to take the lead.

East ran the ball eight straight times after a 34-yard pass from quarterback Cole Gilley to Jonah Wichman on 3rd down. From the 3-yard line, Lance Grewie punched the ball in to put the Olympians up 7-0 with 4:33 on the clock.

After a three-and-out, the Olympians went 78 yards on five plays to go up 14-0 with 1:27 left in the first quarter. Mark McDonald followed up a 49-yard run with a 3-yard touchdown dash to extend East’s lead to 14-0.

Down two scores, the Owls were forced to punt on the first play of the second quarter.

A 43-yard run from McDonald set up a 30-yard TD scamper from Greiwe with 10:57 left in the half, putting the Olympmians up 21-0.

The Olympians got the ball back three plays later, as Nathan O’Mara fumbled the ball and East recovered on their own 29.

Gilley hit Zach Pierce with a fade in the right corner of the end zone, from seven, to put the Olympians up 28-0 with 4:23 on the clock.

After managing another stop, Gilley hit Dalton Back on a 40-yard pass and the Olympians led 35-0.

Seymour finally got some chunk yardage on the ensuing drive.

A 40-yard run by O’Mara and 8-yard pass from Brendan Smith to Jack Roberts put the Owls in scoring position. From the Olympians’ 25, O’Mara found space down the left sideline for a score, cutting the deficit to 35-7 with 2:24 in the second quarter.

The Olympians added one last score before intermission, as Gilley hit Back in stride on a 26-yard pass to lead 42-7 at halftime.

At the break, the Olympians had out-gained the Owls 410-115.

Seymour came out with more life in the second half, as they used 15 plays to score on the first possession of the second half.

After O’Mara picked up 33 yards on three straight runs, Smith found Elijah Corwin in the end zone on an 8-yard pass to cut the deficit to 42-13 with 2:24 on the clock. On the PAT attempt, the snap was bobbled and the Owls couldn’t convert.

Despite the strong start, the Olympians answered.

After converting on a 3rd-and-17 on a 31-yard pass, the Olympians got down to the Owls’ goal line on the ground. On the 1-yard line, McDonald punched it in to bring the score to 49-13 with 3:48 left in the third quarter.

Neither team scored on their next possession, as the Olympians maintained the lead going into the fourth quarter.

Seymour had two possessions and East had one in the final quarter, but neither found the end zone again the rest of the way.

“Good teams know how to pounce. They pounced,” Seymour coach Mike Kelly said. “I think our kids battled in the second half, and battled even at the end of the first half. I feel like that’s something we didn’t have the first time we played them. We didn’t compete. Tonight, I felt like our guys competed.

“I am very proud of those young men. They have a lot to be proud of with their effort and commitment.”

O’Mara led SHS with 207 yards on 28 carries. O’Mara set the record for carries in a season (286), and also moved into second place for most yards in a season (1,378) at Seymour.

Smith went 6-for-10 through the air for 39 yards and a touchdown.

East had 520 offensive yards to the Owls’ 283.

Gilley was 15-for-21 with 278 yards and three passing touchdowns. McDonald led the Olympians with 138 yards on 16 rushes.

The Owls will graduate 19 seniors from its sectional roster.

“This group is special to me because they bought in to everything that was asked of them when I got here two years ago,” Kelly said. “From summer to winter workouts. You take away the Columbus East games, and we were competitive in every game we played this year.”

East will play at No. 8 Bedford North Lawrence for the sectional championship next week.

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