The Fort Osage football team has been dealing with a lot of injuries in recent weeks and that is part of the season the Indians have limped to a 3-4 start.
However, in Friday’s Suburban Middle Seven contest against William Chrisman, Fort Osage finally got all their starters back on defense, but had to deal with two offensive lineman out for the season with torn ACLs (Valentino Ulberg and Elijah Campbell).
Even with all of the injuries, there has been one constant for the Indians – all-state linebacker Von Young. The senior notched three sacks of Chrisman quarterback Dawson Herl and the rest of the defense came up big with two turnovers in a 29-14 win at home.
“I am glad I don’t go against him in one-on-ones in practice,” Fort Osage quarterback Ty Baker said of Young. “I wouldn’t want to meet him in the hole. He plays at a high level. He’s very intense, so I don’t mess with before a game.”
Young was a part of a defense that held Chrisman to just 236 yards of total offense.
“We needed this win tonight,” said Young, who also had a first-down run of 14 yards out of the wildcat formation. “It felt good to come back and show what we can do. Our record doesn’t represent who we are as a team. We just have to get better every week.”
The stout Fort Osage (4-4, 3-2) defense had a tough start to the game as the Bears (3-5, 2-3) scored on their opening possession. Chrisman had a fourth-and-10 deep in Fort Osage territory. It broke out a trick play in which Herl pitched it to running back Bryan Cox, who lobbed a pass to wide receiver Kelvyn Mason. Mason was yanked down by Indians cornerback Ben Long, which resulted in a pass interference penalty and a first down. That eventually led to a 5-yard touchdown run for Osi Nauer and a 7-0 Chrisman lead.
Fort Osage immediately responded on its first possession. Baker hit wide receiver Adam Harbord on a fly route and he ran in untouched from 59 yards out after a Chrisman cornerback slipped. Baker connected with Dakota Robertson on a fake extra point try and pass to take a 8-7 advantage in the first period.
After the Indians defense got a stop, they scored on the first play of their next drive when running back Brandon Gregory Jr. ran up the middle and juked a couple of defenders for a 52-yard TD run, extending his team’s lead to 15-7.
On Chrisman’s first play of the ensuing drive, Herl and Nauer had a bad exchange on a handoff, which led to a fumble and a recovery by Robertson. Fort then scored on the first play again. Baker scored from 32 yards out on a read option play to increase the advantage to 22-7, 25 seconds into the second period.
Chrisman did not go away, however. Herl connected with Mason on passes of 22 and 12 before Nauer scored on a 4-yard run to make it 22-14 with 7 minutes left in the first half.
With 2 minutes left in the half, Baker put his team up by two scores when he scrambled out of the pocket, rolled to his left, and found a wide open Richard Wiseman Jr. for a 50-yard catch-and-run to go up 29-14.
The Fort Osage defense took over from there, holding the Bears scoreless in the second half and getting an interception from Gavyn Monday.
“We gave up four big plays for their offense and that really hurt us,” Chrisman coach Matthew Perry said. “Other than that, defensively we did a good job. We made some adjustments because we had some injuries and illnesses. We had to go back to our old plan during the game. I can’t fault our kids’ effort. We just made more mistakes than them.”
The offense provided the Indians with that they needed after going through a slump in weeks 4 through 6, averaging just 15.3 points per game in that span. Fort Osage scored 35 points in a loss to Raytown last week and 29 Friday as it appears that the offense is improving even with two starting offensive lineman injured.
“I knew it was going to be a tough schedule with other teams getting better like North Kansas City and Raytown,” Fort Osage coach Brock Bult said. “Then we faced two of the top (Class 6) teams (Lee’s Summit West and Park Hill), it’s going to be tough. It helped us get ready as we get ready to move on.
“The good thing about the injuries is we got a lot of kids who got a lot of playing time that normally wouldn’t have. Now we got a lot backups ready to go.”
Gregory led Fort Osage with 107 yards rushing and a touchdown. Wiseman added 87 yards receiving on three catches and a score.
“Most teams now know my main target is Dom (Dominic Myers). They are doubling him up and going wherever he goes and tonight they covered him up and left my other targets open (Wiseman and Harbord),” said Baker, who was 5 for 10 passing with 155 yards and two scores. “Everyone is doing their jobs, when that happens, we scored a lot points like we did tonight.”
Nauer paced the Bears with 82 yards rushing on 16 carries and two TDs.