SEYMOUR – Junior running back Wenkers Wright rushed for 216 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries to lead Floyd Central to a 21-14 win over host Seymour in a Hoosier Hills Conference football game Friday night.
“He carries us,” Floyd Central coach James Bragg said of Wright — but the junior wasn’t the only standout. The Highlanders' defense came up huge all night, while junior quarterback Tristan Polk and senior wide receiver Landon Deweese combined for two touchdowns.
Seymour took the first possession and used a no-huddle rushing offense to grind the ball downfield. A 14-play drive was finally stuffed by the bend-but-don’t-break Highlanders' defense when junior Trace Richards tackled Seymour quarterback Brendan Smith for a loss on fourth down and one at the Floyd Central 26.
“Our defense came up huge,” said Bragg.
Floyd Central took over and converted on a third down and 12 – a 20-yard pass from Polk to junior wide receiver Kaleb Quenichet. The big play helped Floyd Central get to midfield but the drive stalled.
Seymour followed with a 13-play drive that ended with a punt on the third play of the second quarter. The punt went to the Floyd Central five-yard line — and that’s when the fireworks started.
It was the second quarter and just the Highlanders second offensive series of the game. On the first play, Wright busted through the Seymour line and raced for 95 yards for a touchdown. Cole Hussung added the extra point and Floyd Central led 7-0 at the 10:35 mark of the second quarter.
On the ensuing possession, the Owls answered with a big scoring play of their own. At the Seymour 47, Smith connected with Drew Vehslage with a 53-yard touchdown pass and the score was tied with 8:41 left in the half.
Floyd Central responded with big plays on both sides of the ball.
The Highlanders drove to midfield when Polk hit Deweese with a 54-yard touchdown pass — that made it 14-7 with 4:48 remaining.
On Seymour’s possession, Smith was intercepted by senior defensive back Will Isaacs at the Owls 40-yard line, returning it to the 24. Two plays later, Polk hit Deweese for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 3:51 left in the half.
Floyd Central’s defense came up with another turnover late in the half when senior defensive back Calvin Brown scooped up a fumble and the Highlanders led 21-7 at the break.
The Highlanders offense couldn’t add to the lead in the third quarter, but the defense made sure Seymour couldn’t take advantage.
Neither team was able to threaten until late in the quarter. Seymour drove to the Floyd Central 12-yard line when a Smith pass was tipped and intercepted by senior Adam Hynes at the five-yard line.
On Floyd Central’s ensuing possession, a long touchdown run by Wright was called back due to a holding penalty. Facing third down deep in their own territory, the Highlanders got another big play — a 35-yard pass from Polk to Deweese. That ended the third quarter with the Highlanders up 21-7.
“We had a ton of penalties in the third quarter,” said Bragg, “but we didn’t quit.”
The fourth quarter was more Highlanders defense as Floyd Central held the Owls scoreless and got another takeaway – a fumble recovery by senior Daniel Cristiani at midfield inside the final five minutes of the game.
Floyd Central looked to ice it with 2:09 left, but a 51-yard Hussung field goal attempt was blocked and run back for a touchdown. That made things a bit more interesting, but when the Highlanders recovered the onside kick they were able to run out the clock.
With the end of the regular season, Floyd Central (7-2, 5-1) is off next week. Next up for the Highlanders is the first round of the Class 5A Sectional; Floyd Central will host Bedford North Lawrence at 7 p.m. on Nov. 1.