Bulldogs score walk-off touchdown to defeat Owls in sectional final


NEW ALBANY — Head coach Tyson Moore stood in the center of his Seymour football team with parents, friends and fans surrounding them Friday night.

There were tears from some players, disappointed faces on others, but Moore commanded their attention as a sea of red celebrated on the other side of the football field with the sectional championship trophy.

New Albany defeated Seymour 34-27 in walk-off fashion, but Moore had a specific message for his team.

“I want you to wake up tomorrow morning and know you gave everything you had,” Moore told them. “This is a special group. This is a special team.”

Seymour was 10 seconds away from winning its first sectional title since 2001, but late-game heroics from New Albany gave the Bulldogs their first sectional title since 2002.

As New Albany posed with the sectional trophy, Moore and his team had one final break as a team this season.

“We are a family,” Moore said. “Let’s bring it in. Family on three.”

“One, two, three, family,” the entire Owls team exclaimed.

It was a game that sounded as exciting and heartbreaking as it seems.

After New Albany defeated Seymour 48-27 at Bulleit Stadium on Oct. 8, the Bulldogs were the favorite to take this game. But Seymour had other plans. The Owls were a much different team at New Albany on Nov. 5.

New Albany got the ball first, and the Bulldogs began the game with some easy runs. Myles Johnson had over 50 yards rushing on their opening possession, and quarterback Derell Simmons punched it in from 6-yards out to put New Albany on the board first 7-0.

On Seymour’s first possession, the Owls were faced with a 3rd and 6, but Bret Perry found Jaylan Johnson for a huge 47-yard pass to get them in Bulldog territory.

After a couple of nice runs, Seymour was set up at the 1-yard line, and Cameron Klakamp muscled it in from there. While Seymour was set to attempt the extra point, New Albany jumped offside, so the ball was moved up, and Seymour went for two, allowing Klakamp to run it in again to give Seymour an 8-7 lead.

The Bulldogs were moving it down the field again, and they had a 4th and 1 at the Seymour 5-yard line when Johnson stuffed the Bulldogs and gave Seymour the ball back.

Seymour put together another nice drive after the turnover on downs. The Owls were also faced with a fourth down at the New Albany five, and Perry athletically spun out of a sack and found Logan Shelly for a touchdown pass. The Owls went for two, but Perry was picked off in the end zone, so Seymour took a 14-7 lead with 7:43 to play.

The Bulldogs converted two huge fourth downs in attempt to try to answer the Owls. But on their third fourth down, this time at the Seymour 3-yard line, Simmons rolled out to pass and had a receiver wide open in the end zone, but Mikey Wright made a huge play to get a hand on the pass and broke it up.

It was Seymour’s second fourth down stop inside their own 10-yard line, and the Owls ran the clock out from there and took a 7-point advantage into halftime.

Seymour got the ball to start the second half, and New Albany came up with a big stop to get the ball back.

The Bulldogs were able to strike back with 4:16 left in the third. Dejon Winburn made a double move to get himself wide open in the end zone and Simmons found him from 25 yards out.

In the waning seconds of the third quarter, the Owls were faced with a 4th and 10, and Perry completed a 30-yard pass to Dylan Fields to give Seymour the ball at the six. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Perry sneaked it in over the goal line to put the Owls up 21-14.

The back-and-forth battle continued as Keyondre Winford broke loose for a 51-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs missed the PAT, so Seymour kept a 21-20 advantage.

On the ensuing possession, Perry turned what seemed like just a 2-yard gain into a 31-yard run, breaking out of a gang of tacklers and broke free. That drive ended in a 2-yard QB sneak from Perry, and Seymour led 27-20 with 4:18 to play.

But the Bulldogs answered quick. Daquan High took an end around 27 yards for a score, but the Mitchell Mellencamp stuffed Simmons on a two-point conversion, and Seymour maintained a 27-26 lead.

The Owls had the ball to try to run out the clock but were faced with a 3rd and 10. Perry tried to force it down the field to Johnson, but it was intercepted.

The ball was in New Albany’s hands, down one, with 2:30 to play.

The stakes grew higher by every snap. Finally, the Bulldogs had it down to the 5-yard line with 10 seconds left. Simmons rolled out to his left, jumped in the air and found Winford in the end zone with four seconds left, and the Bulldogs all of sudden led 34-27 — their first lead of the game since 7-0 in the first quarter.

“Right now, you feel like you’ve been kicked in the gut,” Moore said. “I told our guys on the field. I’m extremely proud of them. This is probably the most proud of them I’ve been all season.”

It was heartbreaking loss for the Owls to end their season after making such large strides the last couple weeks of the season.

When these two teams met on Oct. 8, New Albany looked like the far superior team, but on Friday night, Seymour outplayed New Albany, but the Bulldogs made the play at the end.

This is a young Seymour team, and with the promise they showed Friday night, Moore knows this team can be a force in the years to come, channeling this heartbreak to make them better.

“The future of Seymour football is bright,” Moore said. “This is a team, that going forward for the next two or three years, is going to be a dangerous football team.”

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