There are always two home football games that are especially meaningful to the Seymour Owls.
One is homecoming and the other is Senior Night.
The Owls put Senior Night in the win column on Friday by defeating Madison 35-12 at Bulleit Stadium. Earlier in the season, they defeated Jennings County on homecoming.
“It’s been a real emotional week in a lot of ways with me resigning and my mom (passing away), and I’m just glad we were able to play through some of that and finish strong like we did,” Owls coach Jeff Richey said.
The first half was a defensive battle, with the Owls holding a 7-0 lead at intermission. At halftime, the coaches told the players that they wanted them to win the third quarter, and the Owls stepped up their intensity by scoring on their first three possessions to lead 28-6 going into the fourth period.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Richey said. “The first half, we kind of got frustrated, and we ended up getting the ball not where it needed to go. We had the three turnovers that hurt us.”
The Owls forced the Cubs to punt on their first possession of the game, and Seymour needed only five plays to drive 54 yards for its first score with Austin Sutton passing 41 yards to Tanner Belcher for the first of his four touchdown passes of the night. Zach Schlatterer kicked the first of his five extra points, and it was 7-0 at 9:32 of the first period.
“The comeback in the second half, being able to score coming out to start the second half was big, and then Tanner’s punt return was just amazing,” Richey said. “That kind of turned the tide and made it 21-0. We kind of figured if we would get out a little bit, we’d be OK, and that’s how it worked out. We played well the second half.”
The Sutton-to-Belcher passing combination clicked on consecutive plays, covering 14, 38 and 27 yards for the touchdown.
Seymour forced Madison to punt 10 times during the night, and on the Cubs’ first kick of the third quarter, Belcher caught the ball at his own 41-yard line and raced 59 yards for his third touchdown of the night.
Madison’s strong point offensively was its running game, as the Cubs rushed 42 times for 221 yards. The Cubs scored on a 46-yard run by Wayne Sherbahn at 5:12 of the third quarter.
The Owls didn’t take long to get the momentum back, and Sutton teamed with Hunter Klakamp on a 68-yard touchdown pass at 3:49.
Sutton passed 30 yards to Adam Bowman on Seymour’s first offensive play of the fourth quarter for his fourth TD pass of the night.
Madison’s second touchdown came on a 53-yard pass from Kyle Callahan to Matt Eversole with 53 seconds left in the game.
Sutton finished 10 for 21 for 245 yards. Belcher topped the Owls in receiving with five catches for 130 yards.
“Our game is throwing the football, and we’ve got to be able to do that to be successful,” Richey said. “Madison, for some reason, every time we play them, it’s always a struggle. We got ourselves to 4-3 in the conference, which is where we wanted to be. That will give us a tie for third in the conference.”
Owls defensive end Mitchell Pollmann said he had a good feeling after the win.
“It feels amazing out here with all these fans coming out, and it was just a great atmosphere. I’m glad to play on Senior Night,” Pollmann said.
Pollmann has played both offensive and defensive end. He caught one pass on Friday night, but he has started on defense throughout the season.
“This is my first year playing defensive end,” he said. “I used to play receiver, then they moved me to defensive end, and I’m glad they did. I felt it’s a great spot for me, and I feel I do well, and I’m glad the coaches put me there. They worked with me all year, and they’ve been persistent with me.”
Mitchell Sandlin topped Madison in rushing with 133 yards on 18 carries.
Pollmann said he had a lot of respect for Madison’s rushing game.
“They are a hard-nosed team. They go out and they hit some people. They catch some bad breaks here and there, and I think that hurts them a lot,” he said.
The Owls finished the regular season with a three-game winning streak, and they are 4-5 overall heading into Friday’s sectional game at Evansville Harrison.