The Cardiac Kids did it again.
It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t what Seymour was expecting, but the Owls found another way to complete a fourth quarter comeback to defeat Jennings County 21-14 on Friday night inside Bulleit Stadium.
Tied at 14, the Panthers had the ball at the Seymour 20 on a 4th-and-2, and the Owls defense stuffed the Panthers to allow the offense to take over with 2:48 to play.
From there, Bret Perry found Jaylan Johnson for a big gain, and then he found tight end Josh Rennekamp on a big screen pass that set the Owls up in the red zone.
Seymour was faced with a 4th-and-4 at the 5-yard line, and Perry was able to sprint around the edge just enough to get a first down at the 1-yard line.
“We had trips to the left, and they shifted over to that side,” Perry said. “We just trusted our blockers. I looked to go straight up field, but it wasn’t there, so I bounced to the outside and tried to get around everyone.”
The next play, Perry kept it for a QB sneak to score the game-winning touchdown with 31 seconds to play.
“It’s not the way we want it, we know that,” Perry said on the Owls’ late comeback. “We know we can perform better than that. But we just keep our composure, stay calm and trust each other.”
It was a fast-paced game right from the jump against the conference foes from North Vernon.
Seymour got the ball first and marched right down the field for a touchdown. Perry was 5-for-6 on that first drive for 65 yards, and he found Nick Wheeler on a screen pass that went 17 yards for a score.
Adrian Medina missed the extra point, so the Owls led 6-0 five minutes into the first quarter.
Jennings County tried to respond, but on a 4th-and-1 at the goal line, Mitchell Mellencamp made a huge tackle to keep the Panthers out of the end zone.
But Jennings County would eventually strike before the half ended. Branden Braun had a 5-yard rushing touchdown to put the Panthers in front 7-6 with 3:06 left in the first half.
That was the halftime score as the Panthers dominated time of possession 15:50 to 8:10 in the opening 24 minutes.
“Their offense did a great job continuing to move the ball and keeping the ball out of our hands,” Perry said. “We just need to be more consistent.”
Jennings County followed that up with a 9 minute, 25 second drive to begin the second half. The Owls defense almost made another goal line stand, but on 4th-and-1, Sam Burkman punched it in to give the Panthers 14-6 lead.
Once the Owls finally got the ball back, they fumbled two plays later and JC got it back at midfield.
Seymour went to the fourth quarter down eight, and on a 3rd-and-10 for the Panthers, Johnson intercepted Parker Elmore to give Seymour the ball back.
As it often does, Seymour’s offense came to life in the fourth quarter. The Owls marched down the field, capping it off with a 4-yard TD run from Wheeler.
The Owls went deep into the playbook for the 2-point conversion as Will Gray took the snap, pitched it to Perry on an end around, and Perry threw it to Jack Pennington to score.
That evened the score at 14 all with 8:41 to play. The Panthers held it for the next minutes trying to score the go-ahead touchdown, but that’s when the Owls defense had the big fourth-down stop on their own 20.
“I believe we underestimated them tonight,” head coach Tyson Moore said. “It almost came back to bite us. A win is a win. We’ll take them, but holy cow, we have a lot of stuff we have to clean up. Their game plan worked. They held the ball and kept the ball from us.”
Perry also admitted the Owls might’ve taken the Panthers lightly. In the back of the team’s head was what lies ahead next week because with Friday’s win, Seymour is now 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the Hoosier Hills Conference. That means as long as the Owls beat New Albany next week, they will win a share of the conference title for the first time since 2001.
The junior quarterback thinks the Owls will be ready for next Friday’s huge game against the Bulldogs.
“I think this was kind of a reality check for us,” Perry said. “We know we’re capable of more than that. I feel like we’re going to be really locked in this week in practice, and I think we’ll be ready to go Friday.”