Fort Osage senior linebacker Von Young IV is leader of the defense, and going into Friday’s game against Belton, he had two interceptions but no touchdowns this season.
He got one Friday against the Pirates, but not in a way Fort Osage fans might think. With the Indians lined up in the jumbo package, Young took a handoff and bulldozed his way for a 2-yard touchdown run, highlighting a 40-6 Suburban Middle Seven victory on the road.
It was the senior’s first offensive touch in five years.
“It felt pretty good,” Young said. “It’s been since my eighth grade year since I got to touch the ball on offense.”
When asked about the rare score for the team’s defensive leader, senior running back Brandon Gregory Jr. chuckled a little bit then flashed a wide smile.
“That man! Von Young, that’s the dude!” Gregory exclaimed. “He plays and hits in practice. I don’t like to get hit by him, so I try to make a move on him every now and then, but it doesn’t work a lot of times.”
So what made the Indians go to a defensive player to carry the ball on offense?
“He’s strong and determined,” Fort Osage head coach Brock Bult said.
So was the rest of the team, which put forth a dominant effort. Young’s touchdown came on fourth-and-goal from the 2 and made it 33-0 late in the third quarter. Gregory, who didn’t start, rushed for 125 yards on just 10 carries. He scored on runs of 37 and 55 in the second half to put an exclamation point on the win.
“Most of my success comes from my line,” Gregory said. “Without my O-line, I can’t do anything.”
The Indians’ offense looked much improved following a 22-15 loss to Lee’s Summit West last week. It totaled 384 yards and senior quarterback Ty Baker was a big part of that.
The Missouri State commit completed seven of 14 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns and an interception. He also carried the ball eight times for 36 yards. One of his scores came on a long pass when he connected with junior wide receiver Dominic Myers, who was wide open along the left sideline and he scored on an 82-yard catch-and-run late in the second.
“It was a scramble roll, and he saw where I was going, and he took off and scored a touchdown,” Baker said of Myers. “We came out a little more ready to go. We really wanted to get after it this week.”
His other TD involved a little bit of luck. He threw one over the middle and his pass was tipped by a Belton safety. However, senior running back Blake Robertson was there to haul in the backward tip and complete the 34-yard touchdown reception.
“I didn’t think I was going to get picked off, but he jumped up at the last second,” Baker said. “I was thinking, ‘Ahhh!’ and I was going to get ready for the next play. I look up and I was like, ‘Oh! He caught it!’”
While the offense took off, the Fort Osage defense was stout. Belton’s only score came late in the fourth quarter when the Indians put in their junior varsity players. Jamall Baker scored on a 69-yard run to break up Fort’s shutout.
The varsity defense held Belton to just 95 yards of total offense and got one interception from senior cornerback Cahleel Smith. The Indians (2-1, 1-0 conference) notched five sacks, including two from junior defensive end Giovanni Willis.
“He’s a physical defensive lineman,” Young said of Willis. “He gets down the line and he gets his hands on the offensive linemen to clear space for the linebackers to get through. Then he makes plays himself.”
Added Bult: “He’s a great player for us. He’s going now and hopefully we can keep him going. He’s getting better. There’s no keeping him down.”
Myers added two receptions for 98 yards and a score. Robertson had 11 rushing yards and a score and had two catches for 45 yards and a TD.