Owls claim conference crown with dominant win over Bulldogs

NEW ALBANY — How bout them Owls?

Those were the first words out of head coach Tyson Moore’s mouth when he ran up to the press box after Seymour’s dominating 49-7 win over New Albany on Friday night.

Not only was it a statement win and potentially the best game the team has played all year, but it clinched at least a share of the Hoosier Hills Conference for Seymour for the first time since 2001.

How bout them Owls, indeed.

“I’m just so proud of this team,” Moore said. “All the hard work they put in and all the adversity they fought through. I’m not going to lie, I thought this was going to be down to the wire. To just come out and open the floodgates, this has been a long time coming. This was not only a great win for our team but for our community and school, and I’m glad they were here to witness it.”

Seymour’s defense got the team off to a great start. The Owls stopped the Bulldogs on a 4th-and-3 on their first drive and allowed the offense to take over at the NA 49-yard line.

Four plays later, Nick Wheeler broke loose for a 32-yard run to give the Owls an early 7-0 lead.

After another turnover on downs, Seymour was able to strike again with its offense.

This time it was Bret Perry that found Jack Pennington for a 55-yard touchdown. The extra point was missed, so Seymour led 13-0 with 2:36 in the opening quarter.

New Albany then fumbled the opening kickoff and Seymour recovered. A couple plays later, Perry hooked up with Pennington again, this time from 15 yards out, to give the Owls a 20-0 lead right before the end of the first quarter.

The Bulldogs finally got on the board in the second quarter when quarterback Kaden Watson scrambled outside the pocket for a 27-yard TD run.

As New Albany felt like it had a breath of life, the Owls quickly put that to rest with two touchdowns in the span of 11 seconds.

First, it was Perry throwing his third touchdown pass to Kyle Hileman from 36 yards out at the 7:14 mark in the second quarter. New Albany muffed the catch on the ensuing kickoff, and the Owls recovered for a second time. One play later, Jaylan Johnson took an end around for 23 yards and a score at the 7:03 mark.

“Our defense getting those turnovers was huge,” Moore said. “That completely flipped the momentum in my book. Special teams — that was probably the best all-around game we’ve played in awhile.”

Seymour added one more score before the first half ended. Perry swung it out to Wheeler for a screen pass that he took 44 yards for a touchdown. The Owls ran a fake PAT where Will Gray took the snap and threw it to Josh Rennekamp for the conversion. That made it 42-7, which meant it would be a running clock in the second half.

“This was the best half of football we’ve played all year,” Moore said.

The Owls used eight minutes on their opening drive in the second half to take a 49-7 lead after Perry rushed it in from six yards out.

Mikey Wright had an interception late in the third quarter for Seymour’s fourth takeaway of the game. Wright had six tackles to lead the Owls and Johnson had five tackles.

The clock ticked away quickly in the fourth quarter, and as the Owls won 49-7, students and fans rushed the field to celebrate with the team.

“This was 21 years in the making,” Moore said. “They guaranteed themselves at least a share of the HHC title. So forever they will be etched in the HHC handbook as champions, and nobody will ever take that away from them. The seniors added to their legacy that they’ve been building for four years.”

Perry only had one incompletion all game, throwing for four touchdowns and running for one touchdown. Pennington had two receiving touchdowns, Hileman had one, Wheeler had one rushing and receiving, and Johnson had one rushing.

“Bret doing what he does best,” Moore said. “Nick ran the ball like a mad man, our receivers stepped up, and our defense took last year (losses to New Albany) personal.”

Seymour is now 6-2 this season, winners of five straight, and will host Bloomington South next week to close out the regular season.