Seymour can't complete comeback in loss to Heritage

Sep. 14, 2013 @ 01:45 AM

 The Seymour Eagles had two chances late, but couldn’t mount a scoring drive the game’s final minutes and fell 41-38 to Heritage Friday night at Householder Field.

The Mountaineers’ come-from-behind win breaks a 20-game losing streak for the team, dating back to Sept. 2, 2011. 

The Eagles (2-2, 1-0 in District 2-AAA) were moving and at midfield with over a minute to go, trailing by three, but the drive stalled and a deep pass from quarterback Nick Sexton to teammate Braxton Dockery fell harmlessly for a turnover on downs, giving the ball to the Mountaineers (1-2, 0-1 in District 4-AAA).

Choosing to have its quarterback kneel, despite the Eagles two timeouts, Heritage ended up facing a 4th down with 17 seconds remaining.

In an odd choice, Heritage coach Tim Hammontree elected to try and run out the clock with his punter scrambling with the ball post-snap. 

The move didn’t work and Seymour took over on downs at the Heritage 26.

“I thought ‘Thank you,’” Moore said. “I didn’t understand that (strategy), but it gave us a shot.”

After an incomplete pass into the end zone, Seymour kicker JJ Jerman lined up for a 43-yard field goal attempt to tie the game.

The kick was wide right, and the Mountaineers and their fanbase erupted, their long losing streak — which dated back to September of 2011 — a thing of the past.

“(JJ) did a good job, it was just one of those things,” Moore said of the failed kick. “He’s kicked well all night, kicked well all season. It was just one of those misses.”

Orlando Bledsoe had a huge night for Heritage. He gashed the Seymour defense for 263 yards on 21 carries, while teammate Brandon Cutler had 11 totes for 96 yards. The pair tallied three rushing touchdowns between them.

“(Bledsoe) was hard to tackle. We fight and we do everything we can, but we’re small up front. We know that, and everybody knows that,” Moore said. “But our kids don’t quit, they fight hard, they just get out-sized a little bit sometimes.”

It was Bledsoe and Cutler’s runs late that pushed the Mountaineers to victory. 

As part of a 98-yard drive late in the fourth quarter, Bledsoe bashed his way through the middle of the Eagles’ defense while Cutler hit the corner for two big first-down runs, keeping the chains moving. Finally, teammate Khalil Abuhani delivered the knockout punch from 26 yards out, scampering and twisting through the Seymour defense for the night’s final score, which moved Heritage out front 41-38.

“We went ... in (at halftime),” Moore said. “Made some adjustments, and we played well (defensively in the second half.) They had that one drive. We put them down on the 2 yard line, and you’re not supposed to let them drive 98 yards.”

In the game’s first half, it seemed as though the first team to mount any real defensive effort would win.

The Eagles grabbed the advantage early on, going up 21-6 thanks to touchdown runs from Sexton and running back Tanner Sise (two).

After scores for both teams, including a 16-yard TD pass from Sexton to Dockery, the Eagles lead stood at 28-14.

But the Mountaineers countered.

A long TD drive and two-point conversion was followed by a quick Seymour offensive mistake. Sexton fumbled after being sacked, and Heritage scooped it and scored to knot the game at 28-28. 

Both teams scored again prior to halftime, the Eagles’ TD coming on a 75-yard pass to Dockery, making the score 35-35 at intermission.

Several Eagles posted good numbers, despite the loss.

Dockery caught seven passes for 124 yards and two TDs, while Sise piled up 125 yards on 17 carries and also scored twice. Sexton was 17-of-30 passing for 274 yards, two TDs and one interception. Blaise Rooney caught five balls for 88 yards.

The Eagles will try to get back on track against Jefferson County next week. The Patriots took one on the chin Friday night, falling 41-0 to a very good Greeneville team.