Owls can’t stop Highlanders’ run game

FLOYD KNOBS — First quarter turnovers and an inability to stop Floyd Central’s balanced offense were too much to overcome for Seymour’s football team Friday night.

A fumble and an interception by the Owls in the opening quarter led to two Floyd touchdowns in a 65-second span, giving the Highlanders (3-1) the early lead needed to pull away to a 35-20 victory.

“The key to the game, offensively, was not getting points on the board in the first quarter,” Seymour head coach Josh Shattuck said. “We had the fumble and the interception, and they made us punt on our first possession. We can’t afford to punt right now.”

Put into a position to mount a comeback, Seymour couldn’t contain a Floyd Central offense that used explosive plays during the first three quarters, then secured the victory with old-fashioned, up-the-gut power running.

The Highlanders’ first two touchdowns came on an 18-yard run and a 57-yard pass. A 49-yard reverse set up the third touchdown. A 62-yard run generated the fourth Floyd Central score.

In the fourth quarter, leading by 15, Floyd Central ran the ball 10 straight times up the middle to burn the final 6:55 off the clock.

“We’ve got who we’ve got,” Shattuck said of his team’s match-up against the athletic Highlanders. “We’re going to roll our players out there and play.”

After falling behind 14-0 early, Seymour (0-4) played Floyd Central evenly, using a methodical, short-yardage offense to move the chains and keep Floyd’s play-makers off the field. The Owls found success by running and passing the ball wide and letting backs Luke Dover, Zach Carpenter and Jackson Morris work in the open field.

Dover scored Seymour’s first touchdown in the second quarter on a four-yard reverse to the left, capping a 13-play, five-minute drive. Morris added another TD in the second period on a two-yard run that ended a 15-play, six-minute drive.

“Our perimeter running game was solid, but we have to be able to run the ball between the tackles,” Shattuck said. “We’re putting too much pressure on our quarterback and receivers.”

Seymour quarterback Alan Perry finished the game with 166 yards on 20-for-27 passing. Morris was Perry’s busiest receiver, catching 11 passes for 74 yards. Carpenter and Dover each caught four passes.

Dover led the Owls on the ground with 29 yards and two touchdowns on seven attempts. The senior scored Seymour’s third and final touchdown on a seven-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Defensively, Carpenter and Todd Kiewitt led with six tackles each. Carpenter, Nik Richert and Alex Holt recorded tackles for loss. Brendan McCartney recovered a first-half fumble for the Owls.

“Our kids are playing hard, but we’re not disciplined enough and our football IQ is not high enough,” Shattuck said. “We’ve got to improve that, and quickly.”