Trouble in the middle

Seymour scored the first and last touchdowns in the first half of Friday night’s football game against Columbus East at Bulleit Stadium.

The Olympians, however, scored five times in between those touchdowns, then added four TDs in the second half for a 69-12 win.

The game was stopped twice because of lightning, with 3:38 remaining in the first period, and at 8:33 of the second quarter.

The second delay was for nearly an hour.

The Olympians, ranked No. 5 in the Class 5A poll this week, had 17 first downs, rushed for 348 yards and passed for 178 yards in winning their Hoosier Hills Conference opener.

Owls coach Josh Shattuck said East is impressive in all areas.

“They’ve just been doing it for years,” he said. “You look at their results and every week it doesn’t matter who they’re playing in conference — they’re winning by 50.

“As aggravating and irritating as it is, you look at their players and their coaching and they’re very classy, and they’ve earned the right to enjoy the fruits of labor that they’ve had. Their kids are tough, physical, athletic and fast, and it feels like you’re playing 11 on 20 sometimes out there with their athleticism, and they are a very impressive football team and program.”

The Owls received the opening kickoff and put together one of their most impressive drives of the season by marching 71 yards in 14 plays for a touchdown, an 11-yard run by quarterback Alan Perry.

Perry rushed for 19 yards, Zach Carpenter rushed for 29 yards, and Perry passed for 23 yards to Luke Dover and Evan Frische in the drive.

“We knew there were some things that we could do against them,” Shattuck said. “They are a ‘hard squeeze and spill’ team so we had some good stuff for them, but it only lasts so long. They are so well coached and they are going to make some adjustments.

“We were able to catch them on some things early and our kids ran hard and executed the game plan. We didn’t do anything fancy. We threw two passes. It wasn’t like we hit them over the top. We converted on a big fourth down, on a nice pass from Perry to Morris, and Morris made a great catch.”

East coach Bob Gaddis said he credited the Owls with doing a fine job of executing its offense on that opening drive.

“We didn’t make any adjustments; we just started playing a little bit faster after that,” he said. “It’s hard to simulate what they do, that triple offense, reading guys. They do a great job with it, and we told them were going to do it much better than our scout team. They had a nice plan coming in, and they just took it down the field on us. We weren’t playing very fast, we weren’t playing very physical and I think it woke our kids up.”

The Owls had trouble containing senior tail back Steven O’Neal as he raced 58 and 61 yards for touchdowns on East’s first two offensive plays of the night.

“(O’Neal) is a heck of a player, and they have a great offensive line,” Shattuck said. “He’s 5 or 6 yards downfield before he has to make a cut. They don’t do anything too fancy. They like to run down your throat. They execute well, and they expect to win.”

O’Neal finished with 159 yards on six carries. Quarterback Josh major completed all four of his passes for 178 yards and three scores. Wilson had TD receptions covering 63 and 47 yards.

Perry and Morris teamed up on an 81-yard pass play over the middle for the Owls’ other score with 2:25 left in the first half.

“The score before the half made it 35-12 and we had some things going there,” Shattuck said. “In spurts we showed things. We’ve made some great strides. I’m not taking anything away from our kids, but we’re not quite ready to compete with a team of that caliber, which isn’t saying anything bad about our kids. No one in our league has been able to compete with them for about 10 years.”

Carpenter topped the Owls in rushing with 42 yards.

Perry completed 7 of 14 passes for 178 yards.

Morris had 4 catches for 100 yards, and Dover caught 3.

The Owls fell to 0-2 in the HHC and 0-3 overall, and will go to Floyd Central on Friday.

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.