• McBee brothers find inspiration in loss of grandfather

  • The tears flowed as the Fort Osage football team left the field at Staley High School Saturday afternoon. But this time, they were tears of joy.

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  • The tears flowed as the Fort Osage football team left the field at Staley High School Saturday afternoon. But this time, they were tears of joy.
    For the first time in school history, coach Ryan Schartz's Indians got past the defending Class 5 state champion Falcons to claim an emotional 20-3 state quarterfinal victory that leaves Fort Osage a win away from returning to the state championship game for the first time since 2009 and just the second time in the history of the program.
    Giant linemen knelt on the turf and wept.
    Senior quarterback Steven McBee and his younger brother, Jesse, who hooked up for a key fourth-quarter touchdown, could finally look skyward and thank their Grandpa Bedsworth for the inspiration he provided in the biggest game of the season.
    Jim Bedsworth passed away from a heart attack following last week's victory over Winnetonka, and there was talk about how it would affect the McBee brothers.
    “We knew what to expect from Steven and Jesse: the best, because that's what their grandpa would have wanted,” said safety Joseph Tuimaseve, whose family took cookies to the McBee's home earlier in the week.
    “The McBees dedicated the game to Grandpa Bedsworth and everyone else dedicated it to them,” Schartz said, his eyes just a touch misty. “What a game, what a day.”
    One big reason the Indians are a game away from their second trip to the Dome in St. Louis is a defense that has recorded seven shutouts.
    The Indians held the explosive Falcons offense to just 197 total yards, and 88 came in the first quarter.
    The man behind the defense is defensive coordinator Jon Oyler, who didn't even have a few minutes to enjoy Saturday's win.
    As the Indians came off the field, they were checking the Internet and Twitter accounts to find out what was happening in the quarterfinal game between Lee's Summit West and visiting Ozark.
    Ozark built an early 19-0 lead against the Titans, and held on for a 26-23 victory. The Indians will host the Tigers at 7 p.m. Friday.
    The winner then packs its bags and heads to St. Louis next weekend.
    “Where can we get film of Ozark?” asked Oyler as other assistant coaches got on their cell phones and began making calls. “We have to get some film – quick!”
    Schartz just grinned.
    “See what I mean?” said Schartz, who has been signing the praise of Oyler and all his assistants the past week. “I've got the best staff in the state. No staff can work harder than these guys.”
    They were all on their cell phones, heading for the team bus, when Staley linebacker Alex LeBlanc approached the Indian players as they were packing their gear into the team truck.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Go to St. Louis and bring home a state championship!” said LeBlanc, who had just left the Falcons on-field postgame meeting. “I'm going to be in St. Louis cheering for you guys – go get it done. I can tell you that losing sucks. I don't want you to feel like I do right now. Go win a state championship!”
    This Indians squad needs no extra motivation, but that show of class and support left the Indians with smiles on their faces. Those tears had disappeared moments after they left the field.
    It's time for a new day, a new challenge, and the hope and promise that comes from claiming the type of win you never forget.

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