In the first half, the Fort Osage defense was dominating Lee’s Summit West, and everything seemed to go in its favor.
The Titans got it into Fort Osage territory three times in the first 24 minutes but couldn’t manage a score. With the way the Indians defense was playing, they seemed primed for victory after senior place kicker Jake Lammering nailed a 26-yard field goal midway through the third to make it 15-0.
However, the Fort Osage offense sputtered during the entire second half and penalties halted drives that went into West territory and the Titans took advantage with a 22-15 come-from-behind victory Friday at Fort Osage High School.
“Our kids played hard and made plays,” Fort Osage head coach Brock Bult said. “I think we’re going to have to work on our conditioning. We had some kids with cramps. We have some stuff to clean up, but that was a good high school football game.”
Until late in the third quarter, the Indians defense kept West quarterback Ben Kobel in check. But in the second half, the Titans started creating more space for their wide receivers using play action. Kobel connected with 6-foot-2 wide receiver Cade Clemons, who caught a pass on a 10-yard out, dodged a tackle and went 67 yards for a score, making it 15-7.
On Fort Osage’s next drive, it went three-and-out, and a low snap forced punter Blake Robertson to try and run with the football. He was taken down by the West defense at the Indians 8-yard, setting the Titans up with a short field. Kobel capitalized when he hit 6-foot-5 receiver Trevor Kardell for a 1-yard scoring pass on a quick outside route to the left pylon. Kobel found Kardell again in the back right corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion, tying it at 15-15.
The Indians went three-and-out once again on the ensuing possession, but the defense came through once again. On fourth-and-three, a bad snap got by Kobel and running back Max Payne scooped up the ball. Fort Osage linebacker Von Young then delivered a massive hit to Payne, sending the Indians’ bench into a frenzy.
Fort Osage didn’t take advantage, however. It got the ball to the West 36, but Indians quarterback Ty Baker rolled to his right after being pressured and his pass fell short of wide receiver Dominic Myers.
On West’s next possession, another muffed snap on fourth down set up Fort Ogage at the Titans 34, but penalties halted the Indians’ momentum. On fourth-and-8, another incomplete pass led to a turnover on downs.
With a little more than 2 minutes left, the Titans started their game-winning drive. Kobel, who connected on 16 of 31 passes for 255 yards, completed his third touchdown pass to a third different receiver. He found a wide-open Sammy Cooper in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard score off a play action fake with 47.3 seconds left.
“Fort Osage’s defensive backs played well and we weren’t in rhythm in the first half,” West coach Vinny Careswell said. “We got in a flow in the second half, and we took advantage of a few things, and had some breaks go our way.
“Sammy Cooper is special. He’s a Notre Dame commit for baseball. We had an injury, and he had to play both ways. He’s a safety for us and he’s a pretty dynamic receiver. He’s also our backup quarterback. He can do it all.”
Fort Osage got the ball to its own 43 with 10 seconds left, and a Hail Mary pass from Baker fell incomplete, ending a solid effort from a tired Indians squad.
The game started out well for Fort Osage. Baker capped a 83-yard drive when he scored on a 3-yard run on a speed option play to make it 7-0 with 4:55 remaining in the first period.
Lammering added a 36-yard field goal with 58.9 seconds left in the first half, and junior linebacker Dakota Robertson sacked Kobel for an 11-yard loss and a safety with 24.5 left in the half to make it 12-0.
“We came out strong and kept fighting in the second half,” Baker said. “We kept shooting ourselves in the foot on drives we needed. This loss wasn’t on the defense, it’s on us.”
Baker completed 21 of a career-high 38 passes for 204 yards and rushed for 108 yards on on 10 carries. Myers caught 12 passes for 119 yards and running back Roman Tinoco rushed for 59 yards on 11 carries.