A five-yard touchdown plunge by Bret Perry with just 1:21 left in the fourth quarter lifted Seymour’s football team to a thrilling 28-24 victory over county rival Brownstown Central on Friday night.
The two teams played a tentative, creaky first half before engaging in a barn-burning second half that saw each team answer the other and trade the lead five times.
Seymour’s victory breaks its three-game losing streak to Brownstown and extends the Owls’ current win streak to three.
“We were in a possession battle and just needed to take care of the ball and find ways to score,” Seymour head coach Tyson Moore said. “I thought our offensive line answered the bell tonight.”
Indeed, after being limited to just seven rushing yards in the first half, the Owls emerged from halftime on a mission to control the line of scrimmage.
On its first drive of the third quarter, Seymour rushed seven consecutive times, covered 64 yards and reclaimed a 14-10 lead on a 23-yard Nick Wheeler run.
“They saw something we weren’t doing well,” BC head coach Reed May said. “We had some holes and they took advantage.”
Brownstown, however, would answer and ignited the kind of back-and-forth battle for which the Jackson County rivalry game has become known.
The Braves jumped back in front by constructing a 13-play, 65-yard, six-minute drive that ended with a 12-yard Adam Wayt run and a temporary 17-14 lead.
Seymour responded immediately, travelling 50 yards and scoring on Wheeler’s four-yard run to jump back ahead, 21-17.
Brownstown then turned to some rarely used pages in its playbook, first calling a well-executed pass from quarterback Carson Darlage to fullback Quentin Tiemeyer on a third-and-6 play.
Moments later, Darlage found Gregory Hutcheson for a five-yard touchdown toss that once again gave Brownstown the lead, 24-21, with just 3:11 left in the game.
And, yes, Seymour would find a way to answer.
Kyle Hileman got the Owls going with a 24-yard this-way, no-that-way kickoff return to midfield. Cam Wheeler then ripped off an 18-yard run, which was followed by a pretty 33-yard pass from Perry to tight end Josh Rennekamp at the BC five yard line.
“That play is not designed to go to (Rennekamp),” Moore said. “But (Perry) stayed patient and made the play.”
Perry’s patience set up his go-ahead and stay-ahead touchdown run.
Facing a 28-24 deficit with just 80 seconds on the clock, Brownstown tried to mount a game-winning drive, but was thwarted at midfield by Seymour’s swarming defense.
“Our defense wasn’t great tonight, but they played well,” Moore said. “They did enough for us to win.”
Entering Friday’s game as winners of eight of the last 11 Jackson Bowls, Brownstown also saw its current three-game win streak come to an end.
“I think it was the best game we’ve played all year,” May said. “We have a lot of guys banged up, played a lot of young guys and to play like this against them, I’m very proud of them.”
The Braves ended with a decisive 249-94 advantage in rushing yards, marking just the second time in the current intra-county series (16 games) that the winner didn’t run the ball more successfully than the loser.
Darlage led all rushers with 121 yards on 21 carries. Wayt followed with 49 yards on 11 tries for BC.
Nick Wheeler paced Seymour’s ground game with 49 yards on 10 carries.
Perry ended with 137 yards on 12-for-16 passing. Hileman was his favorite target with 60 yards on five catches. Rennekamp added 43 yards on three receptions.
Darlage finished with 39 yards on 4-for-11 passing, with Tiemeyer leading with two catches for 28 yards.
More coverage of Friday’s Jackson Bowl will be featured in The Tribune early next week.