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Examiner
  • Indian uprising: McBee, defense power Fort Osage into state championship

  • All week long, quarterback Steven McBee has imagined what it might be like to see the Fort Osage High School football fans rush the field following a Class 5 semifinal win over Ozark.

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  • All week long, quarterback Steven McBee has imagined what it might be like to see the Fort Osage High School football fans rush the field following a Class 5 semifinal win over Ozark.
    McBee threw for one touchdown, led the Indians in rushing and passing and directed a gritty offensive effort that complemented one of the finest defensive efforts in school history as Fort Osage edged Ozark 16-7. Moments after the victory he got his wish as the fans exploded onto the field.
    “I was kind of looking out of the corner of my eye when all our fans came out onto the field,” said McBee, who completed 13 of 25 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown along with 26 carries for 106 yards on the ground – which nearly doubled the total of the entire Ozark team.
    “It was surreal, amazing, one of the coolest things I have ever seen. It was even better than imagined. Could you believe how many fans were here tonight? It had to be the biggest crowd we’ve ever had for a football game, and to win my last game at home means so much to me. It’s just unbelievable.”
    Something else that was unbelievable was the Indians’ defensive effort as the offensive-minded Tigers – who averaged 44 points and more than 300 yards rushing per game in their single-wing attack – were held to a first-quarter touchdown and just 61 yards on 39 carries, a measly 1.6 yards per carry.
    And 50 of those yards came in the first quarter.
    “Are you sure about that?” Fort Osage head coach Ryan Schartz asked in disbelief. “Man, I knew the defense played great, but that’s just unbelievable. I know (defensive coordinator) Jon (Oyler) and his guys watched a lot of film this week. We all watched a lot of film and, man, was it worth it!”
    Oyler was hugging safety Joseph Tuimaseve when they were engulfed by the swarm of joyous Indian fans following the game.
    “Yeah, we watched a lot of film,” said Oyler, downplaying his role in the win. “The guys had to go out and do it. And after the first couple of series, you could just tell that Ozark was going to have a hard time running the ball against us.”
    Cody Lindsay’s 3-yard touchdown at 2:20 in the first quarter was the only time the 11-2 Tigers came close to the end zone.
    “We were so well prepared, what a blessing to have a coaching staff like we had,” said Mamu Tauiautusa, who teamed with Nathan Iloilo for the biggest defensive play of the game.
    “We knew what they were going to do, before they did it. I’ve never been this prepared for a game. We saw how hard our coaches were working and we didn’t want to let them down.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The Indians got on the scoreboard at 2:41 of the second quarter when they drove 69 yards, thanks to arm of McBee.
    He completed five passes on the drive, including a 16-yard pass that somehow Willie Penamon grabbed and managed to stay inbounds in the near corner of the end zone (a two-point conversion pass failed).
    “The defense was playing so well, we had to do something to get on the scoreboard the first half,” McBee said. “That was a big score. They had eight guys playing both ways and we knew we could wear them down in the second half.”
    Which they did, as Ezra Vaoifi capped a 55-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 13-7.
    “We needed another score, and we got one when the kid came through big time,” Schartz said, referring to a 32-yard field goal by sophomore Hayden Baumgartner with 6:33 left in the fourth quarter.
    “That wasn’t an easy field goal, it was on the left hash mark, but he really booted it. I was thinking about going for it on fourth down, but I knew they’d have to score twice if he hit it – and the way our defense was playing, I didn’t see them scoring twice.”
    The Indian defense came up big on the next Tigers series as Samson Sia intercepted a David Salazar desperation pass on his own 30-yard line.
    The Indians then turned the ball over to Vaoifi, who ran for three consecutive first downs to seal the trip to St. Louis.
    As the final seconds ticked off the stadium clock, the celebration began on the sidelines and in the standing-room-only crowd.
    “I’m just so proud of this team,” Schartz said of his players. “They played so hard tonight – just like they’ve played all year. And with a leader like Steven and a coaching staff like the one we have here at Fort, a lot of good things are going to happen.”
     
     
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