The two-time defending Class 6 state champions and Mother Nature were no match for Ryan Schartz’s Class 5 No. 1-ranked Fort Osage football team Friday night.
Junior quarterback Skylar Thompson threw two touchdowns, ran for a pair of TDs and defensive back Jacob Jacobs picked off an Ian Brown pass and returned it 42 yards as the Indians overcame a 21-14 third-period deficit and a 2-hour, 22-minute lightning delay to down No. 1 ranked Blue Springs 35-21.
What started out as a jam-packed home crowd dwindled to half its original size because of the lightning that streaked across the sky for much of the night.
Thompson overcame an early interception that led to the Wildcats’ first touchdown, a 79-yard pass from Brown to Terrance Sanders. Thompson hit Kevin Rush for an 8-yard score to give the Indians a 7-6 lead after Blue Springs had missed the extra point.
“That first touchdown pass, coming back from throwing that pick and watching them score, that shows me how much Skylar Thompson has improved this season,” Schartz said as he savored one of the biggest wins in school history with his staff.
“He’s matured so much, and the season is so young. He helped us win this game with his arm, with his legs and with his desire. But Sky had some help out there, too. What about the job our offensive line did against those big Davis twins (defensive linemen Khalil and Carlos) and those other monsters on their line?
“Jesse McBee and Willie Penamon made some big catches and that interception by Jacob was huge. Skylar’s going to get a lot of attention, and deservedly so, but this was a team win - a great team win.”
After the 7-6 first period, Brown marched the Wildcats down the field and scored on a 1-yard plunge into the end zone that was made even more impressive by the fact that he was able to recover his own fumble before he scored. Brown then hit Lane Williamson to make the score 14-7.
With 1:04 left in the half and lightning lighting up the horizon to the east of the stadium, Thompson his Bailey Williamson for a 53-yard pass play that gave the Indians first and 10 on the 25.
Two plays later, a scrambling Thompson dove to the near pylon and struck it as he dove out of bounds. His 9-yard score tied the game up at 14-all and gave the Wildcats plenty to think about during the lengthy weather-induced halftime.
“I think our momentum following Skylar’s touchdown might have slipped a bit because of the long halftime, but our kids were on a mission and it was going to take more than a long half-time to take away the momentum we’d built up.”
Some of that momentum slipped away when Brown hit Tamarick Quinney on a 46-yard scoring strike at 10:28 to give Blue Springs its last lead of the game.
“It’s not like needed a wake up call,” Thompson said, “but when they scored, we knew we had to get out and score some points.”
Schartz showed what type of confidence he had in his offensive line and junior quarterback when Thompson scored on a fourth and 1 at 2:22 to knot the score at 21-all.
“All the credit goes to my line on that score,” said Thompson, who was 16 of 24 for 229 yards and two scores and who carried the ball 23 times for 72 yards and two more touchdowns.
“I needed a little space and they got it for me. They have some monsters on that defensive line and our guys did a great job blocking all night.”
With 9:49 left in the fourth quarter, Thompson hit Jesse McBee - the wide receiver turned running back - for the game winning score, a 4-yard laser to the back of the end zone.
Just over a minute later, Jacobs sealed the win with his interception return for a score.
“I caught the pass and looked downfield and saw a lot of green,” Jacobs said. “I saw their quarterback out of the corner of my eye, but I knew Josh (Tuimaseve) would put him on his back if he got close.
“Skylar and the offense did so much, and it was great that the defense was able to contribute, too. It’s a great night to be an Indian.”
With chants of “Overrated! Overrated!” coming from the Fort Osage bleachers, Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe had a talk with a team that had won 25 games in a row and hadn’t lost since a 35-28 defeat to then Class 5 No. 1-ranked Lee’s Summit West on Sept. 14, 2012.
“One day this season, we’re going to look back at Aug. 29 and see how this game helped us,” Donohoe said. “This was our wake-up call. Tonight, you give all the credit in the world to Coach Schartz, his staff and his players.
“Skylar Thompson had a spectacular game - the kind I remember seeing from (Rockhurst’s) Nathan Scheelhaus and (Blue Springs South’s) Blaine Dalton. He is a special player who had a special night.
“But we can come and we will come back from this loss. It’s football - it’s the part you don’t like, but it’s football and this team will come back stronger from his loss.”