• Surging Indians feeding off McBee brothers

  • Steven McBee and younger brother Jesse will never forget a memorable Saturday afternoon at Staley High School.

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  • Steven McBee and younger brother Jesse will never forget a memorable Saturday afternoon at Staley High School.
    It started with the biggest win of their careers and ended with a bus ride back to Fort Osage that was nearly as much fun as the Indians’ 20-3 Class 5 state quarterfinal win over the defending state champion Falcons.
    The McBee brothers dedicated the game to their late grandfather, Jim Bedsworth, who passed away the Tuesday before the most important game of Steven’s and Jesse’s prep careers.
    Somehow, in a tale best suited for Hollywood, the McBees hooked up for their first brother-to-brother touchdown, and it broke the Falcons’ back and set off a wild celebration in the visitors' bleachers and the Indians' sideline.
    Fort Osage was clinging to a 6-3 lead early in the fourth quarter when Steven, the senior quarterback and Simone Award semifinalist, found Jesse, a sophomore receiver, alone in the flat at the Staley 43-yard line.
    Jesse sprinted down the sidelines in front of the Fort Osage bench.
    “I knew there were some guys close to the goal line, and I wanted to avoid them,” Jesse said prior to Wednesday's practice session. “I don't know why I cut back inside, it was just like I was meant to do that, and I was able to get in the end zone.”
    The 43-yard touchdown pass gave Fort Osage a 13-3 lead. To add to the Hollywood ending, Steven scored the final touchdown on a 1-yard plunge, sealing the victory and the chance to host Ozark in the Class 5 state semifinal game at 7 p.m. Friday.
    “I saw all of Jesse's run,” a grinning Steven said when asked about his younger brother. “That move he made down on the 10-yard line to keep from getting tackled was amazing. I've seen him make that move before, but it was in practice.
    “When he scored – the way our defense was playing – I knew we'd won. I could hardly wait to get down there and give him a high-five.”
    That comment puts a smile on Jesse's face, who added, “Steven was one of the first guys to congratulate me. To have your big brother congratulate you, after scoring that touchdown, was amazing.
    “So was the bus ride home. We got hundreds of text messages congratulating us, wishing us well and just talking about the game.”
    Big brother enjoyed that bus ride, too.
    “We sat next to each other and we didn't really have to say anything – we got the win for Grandpa, our team, our coaches and our fans,” Steven said. “I have to say something about our fans – they are amazing, the best fans in the state.
    Page 2 of 2 - “When I looked in the bleachers and saw them all standing, and standing around the fence because there wasn't any room left in the bleachers, I just knew we had to win to give them something to celebrate.”
    Fort Osage coach Ryan Schartz also appreciated the huge fan turnout, but as Jesse streaked down the sidelines, juked two Falcon defenders, and headed into the end zone, he had to make sure his players weren't flagged for getting out on the field.
    “The touchdown was just incredible, brother to brother, pretty good stuff,” Schartz said. “With all they faced, losing their grandpa and playing the biggest game of the season, they really showed what they're made of.
    “Our fans knew about all of that, and that's a big reason they were going crazy and so were our players. I had to keep them back on the sidelines. I was afraid they were all going to go down there and congratulate Jesse, and we'd have been penalized for that.”
    After he got the sidelines under control, he made a point of shaking each of the McBees' hands.
    “You talk about two great kids, two great representatives of Fort Osage High School – that's the McBee boys,” Schartz said. “Jesse has really come on the past few games and Steven is just a natural leader.
    “No one works harder than Steven. He's tops in his class and he's just an amazing kid to be around. For crying out loud, you can't find a better kid than Steven McBee.”

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