Eagles clipped by Sevier County
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SEYMOUR — Big Bird didn’t show up, but if the Sesame Street character had made an appearance at Householder Field Friday it would have been easy to see why the yellow bird was attracted — and not that hard to believe it was happening SEmD as weird as things got under the full moon.
Seymour drew a flag on the opening kickoff before the ball was done rising off the Bears kicker’s leg, Sevier County was flagged on its first offense snap, 35 more penalties hit the field before it was over, and the Smoky Bears picked up a 42-14 IMAC win over the hosting Eagles.
“It was one thing after another, mysterious calls no one else could see and couldn’t be explained when we asked, but they did call them on both teams,” Seymour coach Jim Moore said.
The official book listed 34 while the other booth listed 37, but still evenly split. The Eagles (4-2, 1-2 2-AAA) were flagged for 17 for 145 yards and the Smoky Bears 17 of their own for 151 yards.
Sevier County (5-1, 3-0) was able to absorb the rain of hankies a bit better as the high-flying offense turned to a ground attack as the game wore on. The Smoky Bears rang up 368 rushing yards on 56 attempts in a game that lasted three hours and more than 130 snaps.
“It was an intense first half ... both teams on an edge. Second half I was pleased with our run defense, pass defense and our run game,” SCHS coach Steve Brewer said.
Seymour went into the half down 21-14 after Peyton Otis topped off an 80-yard SCHS march just before break for a rare taste of normal football in the half.
Seymour had a 71-yard Nick Sexton run to the end zone called back for offsetting flags, Sevier County got to keep Logan McCarter’s 65-yard interception return, but had to first try the PAT from field goal range before another flag moved the ball inside the 10 for the second try. It took nearly 10 minutes for game officials to decipher events after McCarter cut in front of Sexton’s pass for D.J. Griffin outside the right hash and turned the corner outside the left hash for his game-changing return up the visiting sideline.
A set of ejections, personal foul calls and spotting of the fouls led to the odd PAT attempt that gave the Bears a 14-7 lead.
Seymour answered with Sexton’s toss that found Grimo in stride at the 20 and on his way to the concession stand after his cut to cross the goal line, and then the grind of injuries and personnel began to take their toll. The Bears went to the ground game on the 12-play match that began on another flag that had Seymour kickoff from the Bear 45 and let J.J. Jerman split the uprights on the touchback.
“Tough loss. Things were going well and the wheels came off and when they did we never regrouped,” Moore said of the Bears 21-0 second half. “We lost some people and just don’t have that 6A depth. We showed them we could play with them in the first half, we just need to come out and finish one of these games.”
The Bears ran, ran and ran some more in the second half turning good field position into points. The eagles attempts to keep the ball out of McCarter’s hand in the kick game had Jerman angling punts out of bounds and left the Bears with short fields to cover.
“They’d seen the tape of Carter. We knew we had to stop the run and make them throw. We just did a terrible job of that,” Moore said. “It’s anybody’s ball when you put it in the air, so sure they were going to run it at us.”
Seymour will be without two players who were ejected from the game when they travel to Morristown East. Moore indicated that he will look at the tape in those instances and decide then if he will file an appeal with the TSSAA.
Sevier County will take on Morristown West.
“I’m glad to get through it and get ready for Morristown West on the short week,” Brewer said.