Losing is not an option for Seymour (4-4, 2-2)if they hope to play into next month. In order for the Eagles to make a post-season push, they need four things to happen.
Not only did Seymour need to win Friday night against Union County, but they also needed a Rutledge loss.
The Eagles received their first early Christmas present with a Pioneers defeat at the hands of Claiborne. Now all the Eagles have to do is win the remainder of their games and hope that the unpredictable Rutledge team doesn't.
Friday night's game at Benton Householder field featured the revamped Eagles offense against an out-manned Union County team.
Senior quarterback Duncan Smith is playing his most inspired ball of the season, and his timing couldn't be better as the playoffs approach. Smith had two rushing touchdowns on the evening, and engineered the Seymour offense with poise throughout the night.
Smith spoke briefly on the source of the Eagles offensive success, "It was all the offensive line," said the appreciative senior. And he was right.
On each side of the ball, the respective lineman controlled the game. The dominant efforts up front also allowed each of Seymour running backs to run free. Will Lynam, Chase Turner, Chase Parrot, and Brandon Dockery all had success on the ground.
Veteran head coach Gary Householder talked about the turnaround in his team over the past few weeks, "All of our running backs played well. They deserve a lot of credit."
"The Offensive and defensive lines controlled the line of scrimmage tonight. We've played well the past two games, and we played well for halves at a time against Powell Valley and Sevier County...We are playing good football right now."
The Eagles set the pace for the lopsided final with the opening kickoff. Chase Parrott had a particularly rare effort in the special teams area of the game. He returned the initial kick to the 37 yard line, giving Seymour good field position to begin their first drive.
The Eagles put three on the board 11 plays later on behalf of a 32 yard Carlos Lopez field goal.
It looked as if the Eagles would be in for another close game halfway through the first quarter.
Seymour's defense stood tall and it was time for the Patriots to punt. The aforementioned Chase Parrott was not prepared to play through another nail-biter. Parrott took a nice boot from the foot of the Union County punter straight into the end-zone. The return covered 58 yards and was just enough to make a hearty homecoming crowd go crazy.
Smith would toss to Drew Fox from four yards out later in the quarter stretching the lead to 17-0. With 3:14 to go in the first half, Union County set up a screen play to sophomore tailback Tony Vandergriff.
He broke into the open field after a few nice blocks and put the Pats on the board with his 69 yard scuttle.
After a successful two point conversion, the commission of Seymour running backs took over. The Eagles executed six consecutive rushing plays of at least 9 yards to move the ball inside the five yard line. Smith plunged over enemy lines to put the Eagles ahead by 15 with under a minute in the half.
After pinning the Patriots back on the kickoff, Seymour assistant coaches approached Householder with the possibility of an interesting situation if the defense continued to hold. With only six seconds left the Eagles called timeout.
A surprised crowd watched as Householder gathered his troops and prepared them for one of the most unique situations in football.
If the receiving team calls for a fair catch on a punt, then that team is allowed to lineup and attempt a field goal from the spot where the ball was caught without any time running off of the clock. The "kicker" is that instead of a regular field goal in which the person kicking is set, the team who called the fair catch is allowed to get a running start to kick the ball just as they would during a kick-off.
All of these things happened, but despite the drama that the explanation infers, Lopez missed the peculiar 65 yard field goal wide left and a little short. "I'm going to have to start practicing that," said Lopez, "I didn't even know you could do it."
Even though the attempt was errant, the Eagles went into intermission with smiles on their faces, and holding a 23-8 lead.
Second half play saw more of the same. Great defensive efforts across the board for Seymour were just as much of the theme as the production of the offense. Householder is pleased with the direction in which his Eagles are flying.
"Defensively Todd Fink, Chris Beard, and Brandon Dockery played great. Dockery is getting to the point where he can play all 48 minutes: offense, defense, and special teams. He was a little tired at the end of the game, but it is important to have him on the field," said a proud coach of his talented Sophomore.
With Claiborne county's victory over Rutledge, Seymour needs just two things to happen. The Eagles cannot come out flat when they face a better than normal Claiborne (7-1, 3-1) team, nor can they against anyone they face from this point on.
Rutledge defeated Seymour in a heart-stopper earlier this season. But the Pioneers physical play was not enough to topple Claiborne and their talented running back. If the Eagles do get past Claiborne they will only need a Carter win over Rutledge and their path to the playoffs will be paved.
Eagles' soaring towards playoffs
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