By: Lee Ramsey
The Seymour Eagles football team dropped a key game to the Heritage Mountaineers last Friday night at Heritage by a score of 30 to 6.
This makes Seymour’s record 1 and 3 overall and 1-0 in the district. The Eagles have most likely played the toughest non district schedule in East Tennessee.
I was a cool pleasant evening with a beautiful setting with the mountains in the background and the stands full of fans. If you were a Seymour Eagle, things deteriorated quickly however.
It wasn’t a district game, but it was an important game to measure how the Eagles stood so far this season. On paper, Heritage was a very winnable game. The question was however, was it winnable on the field?
The answer wasn’t pleasant. The reality of Seymour’s youth and lack of depth came to light.
It didn’t help the situation when senior star Cory Clark was injured in the third quarter. The young inexperienced team could ill afford to lose a senior leader that excels on both sides of the ball.
Clark suffered a fracture of the fibula bone above the ankle and will be out 3-6 weeks depending on rehabilitation.
The bone is “not a weight bearing bone” according to Seymour Coach Jim Moore.
The Mountaineers found the Eagle’s weakness early when they hit a 29 yard fade pass for a touchdown with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
The pass was thrown by Heritage senior quarterback Tyler Hartley to receiver Chase Everett who is no stranger to speed. Hartley, a senior, is a transfer from Alcoa.
Seymour moved the ball well but struggled in the red zone.
After failing to score the Eagles were back on defense. The Mountaineers wasted no time attacking Seymour’s weakness. Again, quarterback Hartley connected deep on another long pass; this time for 65 yards to the Seymour 10 yard line.
Similar to the Eagles, Heritage was stopped in the red zone and had to settle for a field goal. Senior Noah Bachman converted for the Mountaineers increasing their lead to 10-0.
After swapping possessions, Seymour put together an impressive drive with Dustin Fain at the reins. After 13 plays and 69 yards, junior running back Corey Todd scored on a 7 yard blast to the left.
“The line Kevin Taylor, Chris Humphrey and Dillon Bennett did a great job blocking on the drive,” said Moore.
Seymour missed the PAT and the score stood 10-6 Heritage.
In the second quarter, the Seymour defense did an outstanding job containing the explosive Heritage offense.
Seymour had the momentum going into the break but things were about to change drastically.
The game progressed very similarly to a game played the next night about 12 miles to the north of Seymour down Chapman Highway. One of those teams wore orange.
Heritage cashed in quickly on two Seymour mistakes, a muffed punt and a fumble.
After both mistakes, the Mountaineers took over on the Seymour 21 yard line and both times quickly converted on the infamous fade pass over the heads of the young, inexperienced Eagles defensive backs. One score of 21 yards, the other one from the 13.
Those two scores stretched the Mountaineer lead to 24-6.
Heritage added an insurance score to finish the game with a 30-6 win over the Eagles. The game stats were fairly equal until you come to passing yardage. Heritage had 225 yards opposed to Seymour with 97. That pretty much tells the story.
“We did some things well tonight,” Moore said. “The fade pass killed us.
“We had 4 sophomores in our defensive backfield after Corey (Clark) went out.”
All wasn’t bad for the Eagle defense however as Moore added, “Our defense got us in some good situations but we didn’t convert.
“We fell behind and had to change our game plan. We had to start throwing more than we prefer and that’s not our game.
“Heritage is an experienced football team. We’re a young team but we will grow. Each Friday night game will help a lot.”
Besides players already mentioned, Moore was pleased with the performance of seniors Colton Flynn, Kevin Kennedy and Logan Rutherford.
“We’ll go back to work on Monday and work hard to get better,” Moore said. “We had been getting better each week.
“It’s really going to hurt losing Cory Clark. He is a big contributor on both sides of the ball.”
The Eagles road just gets tougher. Friday night they face Jefferson County at Seymour.
Come to the game and support the Eagles. They need and deserve all the support they can get.
Seymour Loses to Heritage
By: Lee Ramsey