Owls falls to Knights 36-21 in season opener


By John Regruth | For The Tribune

The path from pandemic to playing field culminated in a sigh of relief on Friday night but, alas, not a victory for Seymour’s football team.

Visiting South Dearborn exploded for 22 third-quarter points, turning a tie ballgame at halftime into a comfortable 36-14 win.

In some ways, Friday’s game aptly reflected our current pandemic conditions. For instance, the game’s first flag was thrown for a face mask penalty, a common infraction these days. There were also wild mood swings as the Owls’ fortunes looked dim at the game’s beginning then brightened considerably just before halftime, only to plunge again in the third quarter.

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Mostly, however, Friday’s contest was just a football game and some tenets held firmly, chief among them that the team that controls the line of scrimmage tends to control the game’s outcome.

South Dearborn controlled the line on Friday, rushing the ball 37 times for three touchdowns and 154 yards.

More importantly, Seymour was held to negative-22 yards on its first 16 rush attempts. The Owls found success on the ground in the fourth quarter and finished with 57 yards on 19 carries.

The Owls were also hurt by special teams mistakes, including a mishandled snap on a punt, a muffed punt reception and an 83-yard return by South Dearborn.

In fact, the long return by Knight returner Bailey Whitelock proved to be the game’s turning point.

After falling behind 14-0 midway through the second quarter, Seymour seemed to find its footing during a flurry of play-making as the first half ended.

Facing third-and-15, the Owls’ offense provided the first spark when senior quarterback Cody Ruble found fellow senior Drew Vehslage on a clutch 31-yard jump-ball pass along that left sideline. On the next play, Ruble and Vehslage teamed again on a 12-yard pass for the Owls’ first touchdown, cutting South Dearborn’s lead to 14-7.

On the game’s next snap, middle linebacker Evan Smith intercepted Knights quarterback Logan Thies at the South Dearborn 36 yard line. Smith then outraced the entire South Dearborn offense down the right sideline, diving into the end zone for the Owls’ second TD in a 20-second span and knotting the score at 14-14.

On the opening kickoff of the second half, however, Whitelock broke off his long run, setting up a six-yard touchdown run by SD fullback Sean Sohmer.

Just three plays later, the Knights chased Seymour’s Ruble into the Owls’ end zone, forcing Ruble to throw the ball away in desperation. Without hesitation, Ruble was cited for intentional grounding, which handed South Dearborn a safety and a 23-14 lead.

The Knights kept piling on with two more rushing touchdowns to build their lead to 36-14 with 37 seconds left in the third quarter.

Seymour added a final score when Ruble connected with a tumbling Russell Shuler with 3:50 remaining in the game, closing the score to its final 36-21 count.

Without a running game to lean on, Ruble was forced to throw early and often, finishing with 178 yards on 9-for-36 passing.

Colin Greathouse led the Owls on the ground with 55 yards on five carries.

Defensively, the Owls enjoyed excellent work by the secondary, particularly sophomore Treyton McCormick, who defended or broke up three passes and senior Eli Abner, who also broke up a Thies pass. Ty Woods-Weddell added a interception in the fourth quarter.

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