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Junction City rallies to top Seaman in overtime, 23-16

By ISAAC DEER

TopSports.news

Seaman and Junction City's football teams have had 29 total meetings dating back to 1974, with the Blue Jays winning 18 out of the previous 28 contests entering Friday's Centennial League matchup at Seaman.

On Friday, the Blue Jays extended the total to 19 out of 29 as Junction City crashed Seaman’s Homecoming party, winning 23-16 in overtime.

The Blue Jays' defense reigned supreme in the red zone against Seaman all night long. The Vikings would get to the red zone three times in the first half but could not get a touchdown, which ended up costing the hosts in the end.

“Our guys played hard, unfortunately, somebody had to lose in overtime and it was us,'' Seaman coach Jared Swaford said. "I think I could’ve done better. Our guys played hard.”

Junction City’s game plan in the second half was entirely different than the first half.

In the first half, the Blue Jays attempted to air it out quite a bit but didn’t see the results.

In the second half, Junction City ran the ball almost every single offensive play, with senior quarterback David Rowell a huge part of the second-half success.

“In the second half, Seaman was more worried about stopping the pass,'' Rowell said. "I thought our guys did a good job of taking advantage of that.”

The defense played a huge part in the first half for both teams, with Seaman and Junction City holding each other in check without any big-chunk gains in the first two quarters.

Seaman’s first drive was all about the run. Big pushes from the offensive line and 33 yards on the ground were able to get the Vikings within field goal range, with Gavin Wilhelm connecting from 32 yards out with 8:56 to go in the first.

Following the opening drive, Rowell missed a pass to a Blue Jay and Seaman’s Callen Barta was able to sneak by and get the interception.

Barta returned the ball into red zone, but great defense by the Blue Jays kept the Vikings out of the end zone and forced Wilhem to kick it again, connecting on a 25-yard field goal with the clock winding down to zero in the first quarter.

A defensive stalemate kept the score at 6-0 for almost the entire second quarter.

But with 1:46 left in the half, senior quarterback Camden Barta ran away from Keghan McConnell, throwing it on the run 38 yards downfield to a double-covered PJ Vargas.

That got the Vikings down to the 1-yard line. The Bluejays shut down Barta and the Vikings and kept the ball at the 1 for three downs and Wilhem was forced to kick it with 0:08 left in the quarter, nailing the attempt from 18 yards to give the Vikings a 9-0 halftime edge.

Seaman was still in front 9-3 entering the fourth quarter.

Seaman had a 4th and 1 at its 32-yard-line and the Vikings punted the ball. That was a key play, knowing that Junction City would get the ball with 6:05 left.

Rowell ran a total of six quarterback-keepers in the ensuing drive as Junction City reached Seaman's 17-yard line before TJ Jones took a sweep to the outside and run it in for the touchdown. The Blue Jays missed the extra point, leaving this game in a 9-9 tie.

On its next possession, Seaman faced a critical third down at the Seaman 39-yard line. Camden Barta pump-faked a blitzing outside linebacker and threw a short pass to Casen Stallbaumer, who juked out two defenders, stiff-arming one, and took it to the house for a 61-yard touchdown, giving Seaman a 16-9 advantage with 5:05 to go.

Junction City stuck to its run game and Rowell and Jones would split carries for the five minutes left. Rowell would keep it up the middle for a 14-yard touchdown with 0:54 to go in the game, sending the game to overtime.

The Bluejays would get the ball first, with Rowell finding the end zone to give the Blue Jays the 23-16 lead.

A botched snap on Seaman's possession resulted in a fumble and Junction City scooped it up to end the game.

Camden Barta threw for 188 yards on the night while Stallbaumer had eight catches for 104 yards.

Junction City (2-1, 2-1) will host Washburn Rural next Friday, while Seaman (2-1, 2-1) will clash with Topeka West on Thursday in Hummer Sports Park.

“It hurts that we are on a short leash,'' Swafford said about the short week. "Our kids will need to have great practices and I’m confident that they will work hard for us.”

JUNCTION CITY 23, SEAMAN 16 (OT)

Junction City (2-1, 2-1) 0 0 3 13 7 -- 23

Seaman (2-1, 2-1) 6 3 0 7 0 -- 16

First quarter

Seaman -- Wilhelm 32 FG

Seaman -- Wilhelm 25 FG

Second quarter

Seaman -- Wilhelm 18 FG

Third quarter

Junction City -- Field 30 FG

Fourth quarter

Junction City -- Jones 17 run (kick failed)

Seaman -- Stallbaumer 61 pass from Barta  (Wilhelm kick)

Junction City -- Rowell 14 run (Field kick)

 Overtime

Junction City -- Rowell 2 run (Field kick)

Individual statistics

Rushing -- Junction City: Jones 25-152, Rowell 15-79, Felton 9-22, Banks 7-40, Holloway 2-8, Sellers 1-3. Seaman: Ireland 14-49, Barta 5-4, Polter 4-26, Stallbaumer 1-6.

Passing -- Junction City: Rowell 3-11-2, 27 yards; Sellers, 0-1-0, 0. Seaman: Barta 15-26-1 188 yards.

Receiving -- Junction City: Jones 3-27. Seaman: Stallbaumer 8-104, Vargas 3-48, Gormley 3-23, Colley 1-13

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