The Seymour football team has a huge opportunity Friday night as the Owls travel to New Albany for their final Hoosier Hills Conference game on the schedule.
The Owls sit at 4-1 in the HHC. Bedford North Lawrence also is 4-1 in the conference, and Columbus East is 3-1.
This means as long as Seymour can defeat the Bulldogs on Friday night, they will clinch at least a share of the HHC title for the first time since 2001.
The Owls knew this was a possibility heading into last week’s homecoming game against Jennings County.
The Panthers were out in front 14-6 on Seymour before the Owls rallied back and scored 15 unanswered points to win the game 21-14.
Quarterback Bret Perry had a rushing touchdown that put Seymour in front with 30 seconds to play. Both Perry and head coach Tyson Moore admitted after the game that the Owls may have underestimated Jennings County, which came in with a record of 1-5.
“I think the disappointing thing to me was, it wasn’t the same Seymour football team we’ve seen the last couple weeks,” Moore said. “I think our mind was elsewhere the entire week.”
The Owls will face a similar mental challenge this week.
New Albany is 2-5 this season, scoring wins over Jennings County on Sept. 2 and then last week against Jeffersonville.
It’s not the same Bulldogs team that beat Seymour twice last season — once in the regular season and once in the sectional championship — but Moore doesn’t want his team to look at it that way.
“I don’t want our team to look at their record. We can’t look at it that way,” Moore said. “We’ve got to look at it as this is a team that knocked us out of the tournament last year and that won the conference last year. We’ve got to be able to show up and play.”
The Owls and Bulldogs put on a classic game in the sectional championship one year ago.
Seymour was ahead 27-26 in the final seconds of the game before New Albany scored with 5 seconds on the game clock to eventually win the game 34-27.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Owls, but it’s a loss that has helped motivate the team through the offseason and into this fall.
The Bulldogs’ late-game heroics last year have been something Seymour has used this season.
Wins over Jeffersonville, Floyd Central, Brownstown Central and Jennings County have all featured go-ahead scores from Seymour with under 2 minutes to go in the game.
The Owls hope it doesn’t come down to that again this Friday, but if it does, they know what it takes to get the job done late.
“This is a team that I don’t think we’ve beaten them in five years,” Moore said of New Albany. “It’s a hard place to play going down there on the river. They do a lot good things. They have a lot of athletes. They’re a one-play team, where they can strike fast on you.”
Friday’s kickoff with the Bulldogs is slated for 7 p.m. as Seymour looks to continue its four-game winning streak.