By Dylan Wallace | The Tribune
With under two minutes to go against Jeffersonville last Friday night, Seymour had just recovered an onside kick and had the ball down 11.
The Owls had 36 second-half points, and quarterback Will Gray had more than 300 yards passing in the game.
But on Seymour’s final drive — their last-ditch effort at a quick score to attempt another onside — Gray went down and had to be helped off of the field.
That wound up being Gray’s final snap of the 2021 season. Head coach Tyson Moore said Wednesday that Gray is out for the season after suffering a foot injury that doctors believe will require surgery.
“It hurts because you never want to see something like that happen, especially that early in the season,” Moore said. “One thing that we’re really going to miss from him is he provided that deep ball. Will’s pass game, he was off to a pretty good start. For him, I know it’s a heartbreaker because he had big things planned for this year.”
Replacing Gray at quarterback moving forward will be sophomore Bret Perry. Moore said those two had a good battle over the summer for the starting QB position, so they feel comfortable with Perry stepping into that role.
Perry was playing safety for the Owls during the first two games — he had an interception last week against Jeff — but he will be taken off of the defensive side of the ball to focus solely on quarterback moving forward.
“We think Bret will be able to come in and control our offense the way we want it to be ran,” Moore said. “Bret has a really good field awareness.”
Perry is a little quicker than Gray, so Seymour will expect to use him in the running game a bit more, which in turn should open up the running attack a bit for the Owls, which has struggled through the first two weeks.
The biggest focal point for Seymour moving forward is putting together a full four-quarter game.
In the season opener at South Dearborn, the Owls put up 26 points in the first half before getting shut out in the second half and losing 56-26.
Last week at Jeff, Seymour trailed 34-0 at halftime before coming out and scoring 36 in the second half, dropping the game 47-36.
“I told our guys our energy was not where it needed to be in the first half,” Moore said. “It took being down 34-0 unfortunately for us to get that wakeup call. In the second half, we flipped the switch. As far as playing a complete game, you have to be mentally focused and be ready to go to play 48 minutes.”
The one positive coming away from the Jeff game is that when Seymour decides to flip that switch, Moore knows they’re a solid team.
A full-game effort is what Seymour is going to need this Friday, as well, when the Owls have their home opener against Columbus East at 7 p.m.
Despite starting the season 0-2 with losses to Whiteland (28-7) and Columbus North (28-0), East has dominated the Hoosier Hills Conference as of late. The Olympians have won 17 consecutive outright HHC titles and 96 straight conference games.
“They’re always going to be physical. They’re always going to be strong. They’re fundamentally sound,” Moore said. “They’re a great football team, and we have to play a great football game in order to compete with them.”
In addition to Friday being Seymour’s home opener, it’s also the Owls’ senior night. Seymour will be honoring 10 seniors.
“We’re always excited to have a home game,” Moore said. “It’s nice to have that first home game. Hopefully, we’ll have a big crowd turnout. It’s a special night all in all, and we’re really looking forward to that.”