It was not practice as usual for coach Brock Bult’s Fort Osage football team as it practiced indoors at EPIC Sports Lodge Tuesday afternoon.
“It was hot – so hot in there – but I think we got a lot done,” quarterback Ty Baker said. “It was nice to have two sides – with the defense on one side and the offense on the other. But I think we are all looking forward to getting back outside Wednesday.”
Added defensive back Cahleel Smith: “I did not expect it to be so hot. We all thought all day we were going to be out practicing in the cold, and the snow, and we worked hard inside and got a lot of things accomplished.
“With this team, we don’t care if it’s hot or cold, we’re there to work and prepare for the biggest game of the season.”
That game takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday in Columbia when the Indians meet St. Louis Vianney in the Class 5 Show-Me Bowl state championship game at Faurot Field.
The 9-4 Indians topped Columbia Battle 46-30 last Saturday at home to earn the spot in the title game. Vianney downed Carthage 36-21 in the other Class 5 semifinal.
The Indians have overcome multiple injuries, but are healthy and excited for their fourth trip to the championship game. It will be Bult’s first time on the sidelines of a title game as a head coach. He was an assistant on the other three trips.
The Indians lost the state title games in 2009 and 2012 and won in 2015.
Bult lost starting offensive lineman Valentino Ulberg and Elijah Campbell to season-ending injuries halfway through the season and the team lost as many as nine starters to a variety of injuries that just made the Indians more focused and determined.
“I’ve never been on a team that had so many people doubting us,” said standout senior linebacker/running back Von Young IV, who received a preferred walk-on offer from Missouri Tuesday. “What kept us together was the belief our coaches had in us, and the belief we had in ourselves.”
The Indians will ride a six-game winning streak into the state final and cornerback Blake Murphy said weather will have no impact on his team’s preparation.
“We couldn’t get outside Monday (schools in Eastern Jackson County were canceled the past two days) because of the weather, so we watched film,” Murphy said. “Then, we practiced indoors today and we got a lot done.
“What I’ve noticed about our team the past six games is that in each game, and in each quarter, and in each practice between games, I have seen our confidence grow. The offense is feeding off the defense and the defense is feeding off the offense, and our special teams have been getting it done.”
Bult and his staff have noticed as well.
“We told the guys, no one cares about the injuries, just work hard and get it done out there – and they have been,” Bult said. “I’m so proud of the guys on this team. They did a great job inside (practicing) today. I mean, it’s Week 17 and they know what to do. And they go out and do it – and do it very well.”