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When Seymour quarterback Austin Sutton teamed up with Zach Schlatterer for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 1:44 remaining in the third quarter to cut Bedford North Lawrence’s lead to 32-26 on Friday, it gave the Owls the momentum they had been looking for all night.
However, when Dylan Stevens returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, the Owls’ hopes went downhill, and the Stars left Bulleit Stadium with a 46-26 Hoosier Hills Conference win.
Owls coach Josh Shattuck said the kickoff return was the turning point in the game.
“We get the two-point conversion and cut it to six, and they take the kick back, and the bottom line is we are a very poor tackling team, and again tackling is not something you can fix overnight,” he said. “We’ve still got to find ways to keep people from scoring points.
“Really, we didn’t execute in the fourth quarter, and that’s winning time. Our defense got some stops, and we were playing better, but it’s tough to score more than 46 points, it really is. So whether it’s special teams, or defense and offense and turning the ball over and things of that nature, it’s really difficult. If we have to score 50 to win, it’s going to be a long year.”
The Stars, who had scored only 20 points in their first four games, matched that total by the end of the first quarter on a 35-yard pass from Brayden Tidd to Austin Hughes, 7-yard run by Matt Shouffler and 30-yard pass from Tidd to Stevens on their first three possessions.
Seymour came up with some big offensive plays, and the first of those was on a pass from Sutton to Luke Dover with 2:08 left in the opening quarter to make it a 20-6 score.
The Stars drove down to a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line midway through the second quarter before a bad snap from the center, a penalty and another loss of yardage on a running play left the Stars at Seymour’s 12-yard line.
The Owls only needed five plays to march 88 yards to score, with the final 35 coming on a pass from Sutton to Elijah Toborg.
After the Seymour defense held and forced a punt, the Owls marched for their third score, a 17-yard pass from Sutton to Luke Dover, to close the difference to 20-18. The Owls were unable to convert any of their extra-point tries in the first half.
“We’ve been competing in the last couple games,” Shattuck said. “The first couple games, the games were over at halftime. Now, we’re scheming, we’re planning. It’s not over at halftime. There are plays to be had out there, big plays. We were down 14 at the end of the third quarter, and it’s a football game. You’ve got to execute, and it’s tough to put all the pieces together. We have very limited time left to put it all together.”
Sutton completed 24 of 36 passes for 300 yards. Chase Dover had 10 catches for 53 yards, while Luke Dover had seven catches for 126 yards, and Schlatterer had three catches for 63 yards.
Sutton topped the Owls (0-5, 0-4 HHC) in rushing with 79 yards on 20 carries.
Shouffler led the Stars in rushing with 195 yards on 21 carries.
“We just have to improve every week,” Shattuck said. “We look forward for the opportunity to get back to work and practice. We’re getting better in the run game. Our offensive line is so young. We do not have one senior who plays on the offensive line. We’ve got guys who have never played football before start up there, guys who haven’t played since middle school start up there. The learning curve for those guys is huge.”
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