For The Tribune
For the second straight game, Seymour’s football team carried a lead into halftime.
Unfortunately for the Owls, for the second straight week, that promising start didn’t hold.
Last week, Silver Creek spoiled Seymour’s season-opener. On Friday, Jeffersonville (1-1) used a big-play second half to down the Owls 35-22 in the two teams’ Hoosier Hills Conference opener.
Despite the final result, a positive feeling permeated the Seymour postgame huddle. Over the past three years, Jeff beat the Owls by 41, 54 and 38 points. On Friday, the Owls (0-2) trailed by just six points with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“It’s awesome to see our kids’ reaction after a game like this,” Seymour head coach Josh Shattuck said. “They expected to win. We came to win this game, and until late in the game we had a chance.”
Thanks to another productive offensive effort, Seymour led 16-14 after the first two quarters.
A 41-yard Alan Perry-to-Luke Dover touchdown pass and a five-yard Perry-to-Chris Knight TD strike lifted the Owls to the early lead.
Seymour’s chances seemed enhanced when Jeff fumbled the ball away on the first play of the second half.
However, that’s when the Red Devils’ versatility and big play potential revealed itself — on the ground, in the air and on special teams.
After stopping the Owls deep in Jeff territory, the Red Devils used their productive running back Jordan Barnett to regain the lead.
Barnett carried the ball seven times, gained 70 yards and scored to give Jeff a 21-16 advantage with 9:42 left in the third.
Jeffersonville then stopped the Owls’ offense again and, on the ensuing punt, got a controversial 84-yard TD return from Isaiah Blanton to take a 28-16 lead.
Blanton’s run appeared to be aided by a block in the back at the Jeff 42-yard line. One official threw his flag on the play but later waved off the penalty, allowing Blanton’s return to stand.
Seymour responded with a methodical 13-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a 12-yard Perry-to-Dover touchdown pass that pulled the Owls to within 28-22 with 6:52 left in the game.
But Jeff put the game out of reach when quarterback Cam Northern connected with Blanton on a 51-yard bomb, pushing the Red Devils in front 35-22.
Blanton and Barnett proved to be too much for Seymour. Blanton finished with 188 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. Barnett, meanwhile, had 221 rushing yards and a TD on 18 carries.
Seymour’s effort was highlighted by Knight, who followed up a tough game in Week 1 against Silver Creek with an excellent effort Friday. The senior made tough catch and tough catch and finished with two TDs and 98 yards on six receptions.
“That’s what happens when you have a senior leader who’s a good person,” Shattuck said of Knight. “He made a ton of big catches for us tonight.”
Perry also put together a strong effort, showing a growing ability to make good read-option decisions while also ending with an interception-free night. The sophomore quarterback threw for 225 yards and three TDs on 22-for-34 passing.
“Perry’s the most cerebral football player I’ve ever coached,” Shattuck said. “What he’s able to handle mentally allows us to go.”
Seymour’s offense generated 376 yards and 26 first downs while controlling the ball for nearly two-thirds of the game.
Perry led the Owls with 62 rushing yards on 16 carries, and workhorse fullback Zach Carpenter added 61 yards on 16 attempts.
Defensively, Seymour was led by Knight, Todd Kiewitt and Evan Frische, each of whom finished with seven tackles. Knight added a fumble recovery, while Dover killed a Jeff drive in the first quarter with an interception in the Owls’ end zone.
Nik Richert broke through Jeff’s line for a tackle for loss and a sack. Alex Franklin and Dalton Miller combined for another sack, dropping Jeff’s Northern for an eight-yard loss.