Receiver Bret Perry succinctly summed up his Seymour High School football game last Friday.
“It’s crazy,” he said.
For several reasons. Rarely does a freshman score three touchdowns in a game. Hardly ever does a freshman new to his position catch three touchdown passes. And Perry wouldn’t even have been starting if teammates ahead of him on the depth chart hadn’t gotten sidelined by injury.
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Truthfully, Perry has so little experience as a receiver the only reason he knew the plays the Owls called in their 47-7 triumph over Jennings County was because he had been a back-up one game on the junior varsity and he studied the entire playbook as a third-string quarterback.
“I hadn’t played much receiver in my life,” Perry said.
He wasn’t even sure the coaches considered him a receiver since he also sometimes played cornerback and safety.
“It was really confusing, honestly,” Perry said of his location on the depth chart.
Perry could not have been featured in Jennings’ pregame defensive plan, though he probably will be in 2-2 Bedford North Lawrence’s this Friday for the 7 p.m. kickoff on the road.
Perry did some spectacular things, making a one-handed catch of a Cody Ruble pass thrown slightly behind him and outrunning the Panthers for a late touchdown as he amassed TDs of 8, 10 and 54 yards.
“We watched film of them,” Perry said of realizing he only had to beat one safety.
Perry’s chance for playing time also was attributable to Dylan Fields, Drew Schroeder and Owen Anderson being out. Perry was in long enough to catch one pass the week before, a 35-0 win over Madison.
After an 0-2 start, the Owls have repaired things that looked broken and outscored the next two foes 82-7, numbers that are a billboard testimonial to offense and defense.
“We’re night and day different than where we were two or three weeks ago,” coach Tyson Moore said. “I’m pretty pleased with the improvement we’ve made. Friday night, I thought we had our best game to date. I was very pleased with those guys, and I told them.”
A big change for Seymour has been switching to a quicker-paced offense, faster hiking of the ball.
“That’s something we have included in our philosophy the last few weeks to wear teams down like that,” Moore said. “Now, we know what we’re capable of. As coaches, we knew that all along.”
Ruble has benefited from the higher octane pace because he can avoid the rush more easily, but his quick hand-offs also set up the running game to hit holes faster.
Senior running back Colin Greathouse, who totaled 98 yards rushing, broke free several times and just about singlehandedly provided ground game balance.
“The offensive line was fantastic,” Greathouse said. “It made my job easy. They were creating big holes. It was a fun game of football, for sure. It was a complete game.”
There was pep in Seymour’s step, exuberance at the end, and when a football team exudes that emotion, it is almost a feeling like, “Can we play again tomorrow?”
“For sure,” Greathouse said. “Hopefully, we can keep having these moments each week. I’m pumped with where we’re at. I feel like we’re starting to come together. We’re starting to get on a roll.”
One defensive representative who helped things roll along was Evan Smith, who intercepted two passes in the defensive backfield. He brought one back for a 19-yard touchdown, his second pick six of the season. Smith keeps adding length to his personal highlight film. Indeed, twin brother Grant bestowed a new nickname on him: “Big Play.”
“We changed a lot of things,” Smith said of Seymour’s evolution from 0-2.
One thing Perry hopes does not change is his current role. Scoring three touchdowns may have even won him a starting job.
“If I keep playing like that, I hope so,” Perry said.