Owls battle tough but come up short against East



A solid performance on a soggy night wasn’t quite enough for Seymour’s football team on Friday night.

The Owls (4-4) held high-scoring Columbus East to just two touchdowns, but the Olympians (6-2) still managed to escape with a 14-7 victory.

East entered the contest averaging 50 points over its last four games. But the combination of blustery, rainy conditions and a stingy Seymour defense kept the O’s offense stymied.

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Down by seven with 8:44 left in the game, Seymour seemed poised for late-game heroics when Caleb Elliott pinned East on its own three yard line with a well-placed 42-yard punt.

A defensive stop and the Owls’ offense would have a last chance.

Instead, East’s grinding running game kept finding just enough room to get that next first down. The O’s ran the remaining 8:44 off the clock by running 18 plays that covered 82 yards.

"But their offensive line does a great job, and they were outstanding tonight," Seymour head coach Mike Kelly said. "Our defense did a great job, but it’s hard to keep an explosive team contained."

Friday’s wind and rain pushed both teams into the running-game sections of their playbooks. Each team ended with just eight offensive possessions. Seymour ran 54 total plays, 51 of which were on the ground. Of the Owls’ 203 total yards, 187 came from the run game.

East’s pass-heavy offense, meanwhile, ran 51 times and threw just 12 passes. The O’s gained 348 total yards, 294 on the ground.

In fact, when an injury forced East’s pass-first quarterback Cole Gilley to the sidelines, Seymour had to contend with swift-footed replacement Malachi Parks, who immediately responded with a 39-yard touchdown run to push East in front 14-7 with 9:21 left in the third quarter.

"That’s not what we wanted," Kelly said after Parks took over the QB position for East. "Watching on film, we knew he would be a challenge."

Parks ended the game with 100 yards on just 12 carries. In the first half, the junior scored the O’s first TD when he caught a six-yard pass from Gilley with 5:49 left in the second quarter.

Seymour responded quickly to East’s first score, using a tough, between-the-tackles running attack to move the ball 70 yards on 15 plays. Brendan Smith capped the drive with a 14-yard touchdown run with just 49 seconds on the first-half clock to tie the game at 7-7.

Smith was a slippery runner all night for the Owls, gaining 92 yards on 23 carries. Junior Chandler Drummond was Seymour’s other workhorse, carrying the ball 25 times for 73 yards.

Smith threw the ball just three times, completing two passes to tight end Jackson Lowe for 16 yards.

"We were going to run no matter what the weather was," Kelly said. "We’re a run-first team, but we would have thrown the ball more. But, we were have success running tonight, so we stayed with what was working."

Friday’s effort marked the first time since 2005 (16 games) that Seymour held East under 42 points. Despite the excellent effort, the loss was the Owls’ 17th straight to the Olympians.

The loss was also Seymour’s fourth in its last four games, leveling the Owls’ season record at 4-4. Not all four-game losing streaks are created the same, however.

"We’re 20 points in four games from being 8-0," Kelly said. "To hold East to 14 points, I’m very proud of our defensive effort."

For East, which improved to 5-0 in Hoosier Hills Conference play, Friday’s win all but clinched the league title. The O’s will formally claim the HHC title next week with a win over Madison next week.

More eye-popping, however, is this fact: With Friday’s victory, East has now beaten Hoosier Hills Conference teams 100 consecutive times. The streak, which includes regular-season and tournament games, extends back exactly 13 years.

Bedford North Lawrence was the last HHC team to defeat East, doing so on Oct. 13, 2006 by a 33-30 score.

Seymour’s last win over East occurred a year earlier, on Oct. 21, 2005, when an 8-2 Owls team handed then-No. 1 East its only loss of the season, 28-13, in the first round of the sectionals.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Box Score” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]



Columbus East (6-2);0;7;7;0;—;14

Seymour (4-4);0;7;0;0;—;7

Second quarter

CE-Malachi Parks 6 pass from Cole Gilley (Nathaniel Hedrick kick), 5:49

S-Brendan Smith 14 run (Joshua Guevara kick), :49

Third quarter

CE-Parks 39 run (Hedrick kick), 9:21


Rushing: Smith 23-92, Chandler Drummond 25-70, Josh Pennington 3-27 

Passing: Smith 3-4-16

Receiving: Seymour-Jackson Lowe 2-16. 


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