Fort Osage football head coach Brock Bult wanted to make sure his team will be ready for the frigid conditions during the Class 5 District 7 championship game against Belton at 7 p.m. today.

In Thursday’s practice, with the temperatures in the 30s and light snow coming down on the artificial turf at Fort Osage High School, Bult had his players wear the same leggings, sleeves and hand warmers that they planned on having during today’s contest.

A trip to the Class 5 state quarterfinal round will be on the line as the winner will take on the victor of the North Kansas City-Staley game.

“We’ve been talking about it, you have to be mentally prepared for it,” Bult said, as today’s forecast calls for a high of 36 degrees and a low of 16. “If you are going to play this late in the year, you are going to have to play in games like this.

“I told them about our game against Park Hill (in the 2014 Class 5 state quarterfinals) when there was a high of 2 (degrees). The team that can overcome the weather conditions is going to be the triumphant team.”

Added senior running back Brandon Gregory Jr.: “We wanted to get a good feel of what it’s going to be a like tomorrow. It will be the same weather besides the snow. The field is going to be slick, so we just wanted to take precautions and prepare for it. It’s all mental.”

Bult said his team is well equipped to handle frigid conditions. As has been the case in recent years, the Indians (6-4) will lean on the running game, a strategy many football teams use in cold temperatures.

“I feel like we’re really good at stopping the run,” Bult said. “We’ve gotten better at that and our (defensive) line is really starting to play well and setting the tone up front.

“Our running game has been good and has been getting better every week. That’s what we build our team on because we know we’re going to get bad weather conditions at this time of year.”

In last week’s district semifinal game against William Chrisman, Fort Osage dominated all three phases in a 45-14 win. The Indians’ offense has steadily improved throughout the season. In its last four games, Fort Osage has averaged 41.75 points. Gregory credited that to the team’s improved chemistry.

“We’ve come together more as a brotherhood,” he said. “We had a lot of problems at the beginning of the year coming together as a team. As we got better, our performance on the field got better.”

And the Indians’ defense, which been consistent for most of the year, has come on strong as of late. Following a 42-35 loss against Raytown in Week 7, the Indians have surrendered just 28 points combined in their last three games.

“Defensively, I feel like we got our aggressiveness back,” Bult said. “We’ve been slowly building back up since the Raytown game.”

And that Fort Osage defense will be challenged by a strong rushing attack from the Pirates (4-7), who the Indians beat 40-6 in league play on Sept. 7.

“They have a really good, big offensive line,” Bult said. “We feel like that was the best offensive line we faced all year. We challenged our defensive line to be better, and we’ll see what they can do.”

Senior safety Ethan Parton said the defense is up for the challenge.

“We’ve struggled through injuries and Blake (Murphy) being out against Raytown,” Parton said. “We just have to be high intensity. We know our offense can score points, we just have to get out and shut them out quick.”