After no more than a half-hour of junior varsity and varsity players crunching helmets and pads while the clouds released just a drizzle of rain, Fort Osage football coach Ryan Schartz had seen enough.
It wasn’t that the Indians scrimmaged poorly Friday. Rather, with Fort Osage conducting a "Meet the Indians" intrasquad scrimmage on its home turf instead of facing another school or participating in a four-school jamboree, all players got enough reps in a lot sooner.
“Everybody got to see some action, it moved along, there wasn’t a lot of waiting around,” Schartz said. “Instead of varsity against JV or varsity against varsity, we had varsity and JV guys mixed with each other. You had coaches going against each other, so that made it fun.
“I think everybody was excited, and the main thing was we were injury free. That’s something every coach wants going into the opener.”
The evening at Fort Osage started with teams from the school district’s three age levels of Pop Warner football scrimmaging each other on short fields. Spectators also had a chance to drench some school personnel at a dunking tank, and there was a hot dog eating contest at the end.
“This is a great event for the community, and it’s also good for the kids to get out under the lights and hit each other,” Schartz said. “It was great to see all the Pop Warner teams all have a chance to play in front of the crowd.
Once the high schoolers, poured out of the locker room, the C team played for about 15 minutes before the JV and varsity players took the field in black and white squads. Black had the one official touchdown, a 2-yard dive by quarterback Skyler Thompson to cap a steady drive, and received some solid rushing and receiving from Bailey Williamson.
White quickly followed Black’s score with a long TD run by Jesse McBee that was nullified by a holding penalty, though Schartz admitted afterward that he made up the holding call, because he needed to get a player on the field for a few more snaps. The Indians also had no special teams snaps, simply shifting the line of scrimmage for change of possession.
Tackle Sima Thomas, one of the Fort Osage’s top returnees on defense, said not scrimmaging another team simply gets the Indians even more eager to face somebody else in the season opener – in their case, Raytown South on the road – after so many days of practicing against teammates.
“Definitely, it’s getting us hyped up,” he said.
Perhaps trying to avoid injuring a teammate, Thomas admitted it wasn’t easy to be full-go right away.
“At first it was (hard)," he said, "but then you realize you’re just playing football and you get passionate about it.”