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Examiner
  • Fort glimpses future in win over Bears

  • With a team as loaded as his, Fort Osage coach Ryan Schartz is constantly looking for new ways to utilize the talent on his roster.

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  • With a team as loaded as his, Fort Osage coach Ryan Schartz is constantly looking for new ways to utilize the talent on his roster.
    On Friday night, that meant giving Indians fans a glimpse of the future.
    During a 36-0 Suburban Middle Seven Conference victory over William Chrisman at Independence All-School Stadium, Schartz called on freshman quarterback Skylar Thompson halfway through the first quarter and gave the varsity rookie a majority of the snaps the rest of the way.
    That served two purposes: Most importantly, it allowed Schartz to shift dual-threat quarterback Steven McBee to running back, where the senior racked up 121 yards on 16 carries and tallied a 55-yard touchdown run and a pair of 2-yard scores.
    As a bonus, it allowed Thompson to take plenty of meaningful varsity snaps and prepare him for next season when he’ll be the likely starter.
    Schartz said Fort prepared three personnel packages for Friday’s contest. The one used most predominantly focused heavily on the Indians’ speediest skill position players.
    “I think the most important thing is to get the right athletes onto the field,” Schartz said. “With that personnel group, that gets some of our better kids – our faster kids – on the field. And secondly, obviously Skylar’s going to mature a little bit getting some reps as the varsity quarterback.”
    It helped that Thompson had a little cushion to work with when he first entered the game. The Class 5 No. 5-ranked Indians (6-1, 3-1 conference) scored just a little more than a minute into the game when McBee hit senior tight end D’Vante Mosby for a 28-yard score. After a quick three-and-out by the Bears, Fort went up 14-0 on McBee’s 55-yard dash.
    Then in came Thompson. He started slowly, completing only two of his first seven passes and taking a sack on his first drive. But he quickly settled in and finished by completing 7 of 16 passes for 98 yards.
    “I wouldn’t call it nerves, but it was more like I had butterflies,” Thompson said. “You just don’t know what to expect because you’ve never really ever been on that type of level of play before. But getting out there with this group of guys – all these seniors, this O-line, the coaches, everybody. They had me prepared and they know what I can handle and what I can’t.”
    For his part, Thompson earned passing grades from his teammates for how he carried himself in the huddle.
    “He’s knows what he’s doing,” Mosby said. “Then again, he’s also a freshman sometimes. He’s still got to get experience, but he’s getting it done.”
    The Indians went up 16-0 early in the second quarter when Chrisman (1-6, 1-4) botched a snap on a punt attempt that was recovered in the end zone for a safety. McBee scored on his 2-yard dive with 4:38 left before half and then found sophomore Willie Penamon for a 23-yard strike with 57 seconds left in the period.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Fort defense also dominated in registering its fifth shutout of the season. Koida Ejire and Joseph Tuimaseve snared interceptions and the Indians limited the Bears to 145 total yards.
    At times, Chrisman looked competitive on both sides of the ball. The Bears forced three turnovers on downs in the first half and another Indian drive ended with a missed field goal. In the second half, sophomore quarterback Gannon Ogle found a rhythm and completed 9 of 14 passes for 66 yards.
    But too many times, Chrisman coach John Crutcher said, the Bears’ execution was shoddy.
    “We still haven’t matured enough to that point where we can be consistent,” Crutcher said. “That’s going to be a battle all year for us.”
     
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