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Examiner
  • No letup for Fort against Bears

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  • Though facing a winless William Chrisman football team, Fort Osage coach Ryan Schartz was somewhat worried his team would experience a letdown Friday at home after last week’s tight, emotional win at Staley. He was quickly relieved of any such concerns, as the unbeaten Indians rolled up eight touchdowns in the first half and zipped through a running-clock second half in a 56-0 romp over their U.S. 24 Highway rivals. “Definitely, it’s human nature for a team to let down after big wins or losses,” Schartz said after his Class 5 second-ranked team improved to 7-0 (4-0 Suburban Middle Seven). “But the kids handled practice well this week, and the interception for a touchdown, that’s a great way to start the game.” Specifically, it was three plays in, as Fort Osage cornerback Koida Ejire jumped a short route toward the far sideline and sprinted 21 yards for a score just 1:16 into the game. “I’d seen it coming and I just reacted to it, got my footwork down and ran it back,” Ejire said. It was the start of banner night defensively for the Indians, who pitched their second shutout and limited the Bears (0-7, 0-5 conference) to a mere 40 yards of offense, including minus-7 rushing. Chrisman managed just two first downs, the first coming by a Fort Osage late hit penalty, and was forced to punt on all 12 times possessions. Through seven games, the Indians have yielded just 42 points. “We’re just getting stuff down, trying to find things we’re going to prepare for the next week and execute,” Ejire said. After losing a muffed punt return and throwing incomplete on fourth down, Fort Osage’s offense got going after three Chrisman punts. Skylar Thompson connected with split-wide running back Ezra Vaoifi for a 54-yard catch-and-run to Chrisman’s 21, and two plays later Vaoifi bounced out to the right to cover that distance for a touchdown. Before the first quarter ended, Bailey Williamson took an option pitch 38 yards to set up Thompson’s 5-yard scoring pass to Vaoifi to make it 21-0. Tyler Titus opened the second quarter by blocking a punt and covering it in the end zone for a score. The Indians also got touchdowns before halftime on Thompson’s 11-yard laser to fellow sophomore Donte Dodson, Herman Tapusoa’s 3-yard run that followed Vaoifi’s 37-yard jaunt, Dodson’s 57-yard punt return during which he spun out of a tackle near the sideline, and a 27-yard keeper up the middle by backup quarterback Michael Barnett. Thanks to the tremendous push up front by its defense and special teams, Fort Osage started its last four offensive possessions of the first half in Chrisman territory. “That’s a hell of a football team right there, and we’re struggling right now,” Chrisman coach John Crutcher said. “I don’t know if I did a good enough job getting the kids ready “It’s a little bit execution and a little bit facing a good tough defense that gets up the field.” Fifteen of Chrisman’s 24 rushing attempts went for no gain or negative yardage. Jonah Tuimaseve had three stops and Nathan Iloilo two behind the line of scrimmage. “I thought we had a decent game plan going in, but I felt we played really well up front,” Schartz said. “The defensive line did a nice job, getting nice pushes and hitting the gap.” Thompson completed half of his 10 passes for 90 yards, and Fort Osage rushed for 254 on 27 attempts. Vaoifi totaled 76 yards on just four carries including Adam Dickmeyer’s 54 yards on 10 carries during the Indians’ last possession. “We wanted to play error-free, playing efficient and completing some passes,” Schartz said. “It was really nice to get some of the those young kids in when they’ve practiced so hard every day.”
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