Though Fort Osage had three touchdowns negated by penalty and gave up three huge plays to North Kansas City that kept the host Hornets close, the Indians had plenty more big plays in their arsenal.
Antonio Garcia blocked a pair of punts that were recovered in the end zone for touchdowns, and Ty Baker threw for three touchdowns as Fort Osage bounced back from last week’s last-minute loss at Staley and pulled away from North Kansas City for a 48-20 Suburban Middle Six win on a sultry Friday night.
“We’d get it going, then shoot ourselves in the foot. Get it going again, then shoot ourselves in the foot,” Fort Osage coach Brock Bult said after his team improved to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play. “When you get a good team down, you can’t let them back into it.
“We have to improve in all aspects of our football team, but we’re still 5-1, so that’s good.”
Baker’s last TD pass went 47 yards to Kaia Tupinio late in the third quarter, putting Fort Osage up 27-13.
Later, after Northtown (1-5) closed within a touchdown again, Tupinio stepped in after Baker got shaken up on an incomplete pass to the end zone and scored on a 10-yard keeper, making it 34-20 with 5:31 left.
“It sealed the deal, said Tupinio, a sophomore who also handles the Indians’ punting duties. “I’m grateful for the how the line blocked for me.
“We need to be able to keep our cool more, but we kept playing in spite of the adversity. We came through as one together.”
Fort Osage then snuffed out a fake punt run, setting up Brandon Gregory’s 36-yard touchdown to ice the game. Garcia covered his second blocked punt for the final score.
The Indians appeared poised to run away with the game early. Baker converted short fields into touchdown passes of 23 yards to Richard Wiseman and 34 yards to Dez Griswold in the first quarter, the latter coming on fourth-and-14. Dakota Robertson then covered Garcia’s first smothered punt to make it 20-0.
Northtown didn’t take a snap in Fort Osage territory until Logan Brewer took a low punt snap and sprinted 34 yards late in the second quarter, but that and a late-hit penalty put the ball at the Indians’ 28, and four plays later Clyde Price scored from the 5 to make it 20-13 at halftime.
Price also put the Hornets on the board with his 78-yard sprint to start the second quarter.
Fort Osage had touchdown plays of 31, 36 and 56 yards wiped out and got stopped on downs at the 27 in the second and third quarters before Baker hooked up with Tupinio for a crucial score.
Baker, who finished 11-of-21 passing for 189 yards got intercepted in the end zone to start the fourth, and Northtown then scored on Zion Thornton’s pass over the top to Brewer for 80 yards.
But Fort Osage’s defense allowed just two first downs the whole second half.
Gregory finished with 107 yards on 17 carries, and Baker added 59 yards and Blake Robertson 46 on the ground.
“We’d get it going; they’d pop a big play,” Bult said. “But I think our kids responded well after they have up that last one. They were kind of fired up, and that’s how they should respond.
“That’s a good football team; they’ve got some tough guys,” Bult said of the Hornets. “You can tell they’re getting better each week.”