What did Von Young IV mean to the Class 5 state runner-up Fort Osage football team this season?

“Everything,” said senior quarterback Ty Baker, who will join the all-state linebacker at Missouri State University next year. “If we needed a big defensive play, Von made it.

“With all the injuries we had, we needed him on offense and he had an all-state season at running back. He’s been my friend and my teammate for as long as I can remember and I’m so proud to have played with him at Fort Osage.”

Coach Brock Bult calls Young the glue that kept a 3-4, injury-riddled team from imploding early in the season.

“People talk about the job I did and the job our coaches did – and we worked hard with all the injuries we had – but without great leaders like Von who knows what might have happened,” Bult said. “He is so steady, so smart. He remained positive through all the down times. He worked even harder when we were struggling and the guys on the team notice that. He’s the first to arrive, the last to leave and he’s an inspiration to everyone on this team.”

He is also The Examiner’s 2018 Football Defensive Player of the Year.

Young finished his senior season with 108 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, six sacks, five quarterback hurries, four interceptions (one returned for TD), three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one pass breakup.

He was the Missouri Football Coaches Association’s Class 5 Missouri Defensive Player of the Year, a member of the MFCA Class 5 All-State first team, all-district, All-Suburban Middle Seven, the Buck Buchanan Award winner (top lineman or linebacker) and a member of the All-Simone team.

Young was at his best against longtime rival Staley in the state quarterfinal, posting eight tackles, two interceptions (returning one 65 yards for a touchdown) and one quarterback hurry. He also ran in a touchdown on offense and picked up a key first down on a fourth down run in the 33-3 win.

“Von’s my guy,” said Ryan Schartz, the Fort Osage activities director and former head coach who saw something in Young back in 2015 when he took a group of freshmen to the state championship game the Indians won, so they could experience that moment in person.

“You could tell from day one Von was going to be a special player. What he did this year is pretty darned amazing. He was one of the best defensive players in the state – and the best defensive player in his class – and he made an impact on offense, too.

“He’s what Fort Osage football is all about.”

In typical Young fashion, he said politely, “I would trade every award I got for a state championship,” Young said, as his Indians lost 28-14 to Vianney in the state title game. “But of all the awards, this one is the most special. When I was a kid, I watched E.J. Gaines and Tony Tanumai and I was a freshman when Sima (Thomas) was on that state championship team and they won the same award I’ve won and that makes it so special.

“And it’s special because I get to talk about Fort Osage football, the brotherhood we have, the great coaches, my teammates. I love this place, I love it so much and I never really want to leave. But there are new challenges out there. I get to go to Missouri State with my best friend Ty and I can’t wait to see what happens.

“But I will never forget the last four years here at Fort Osage. There were a lot of good times.”