Unlike many of the graduation parties they attended, where the participants were saying goodbye to their former prep teammates, Fort Osage High School standouts Von Young and Ty Baker saw their party as a way of welcoming in a new chapter in their football legacy.

Young, The Examiner’s 2018 Defensive Player of the Year, and Baker, the quarterback on The Examiner’s 2018 All-Area first team, held a joint graduation party Sunday at Fire Prairie Middle School, where they greeted friends, coaches and family members to reminisce about their careers that ended with a trip to the Class 5 state championship game last year.

However, their collegiate careers are going to follow the same path as their prep careers at Fort Osage as Young and Baker will both attend Missouri State University, where they will be roommates.

“It’s kind of funny,” said Baker, who moved to the Fort Osage School District from the Blue Springs School District when he was a freshman, after his mother took over as principal at Fire Prairie, “Von was one of the first guys I met, and he never said anything.

“I mean it, he never said anything. So I told him I was going to get him to talk at least once a day. If he didn’t talk at practice, I was going to call him, and have a conversation with him. The last thing I thought about back then was that one day we would be roommates, but he’s become one of my best friends and I can’t wait for college.”

Young grins when Baker’s story is recounted to him.

“I think you could say Ty and I are total opposites – although I do talk a little more now than I did back when we were freshmen,” Young quipped. “Ty knows everyone and can talk to anyone like he’s known them forever.

“It’s more awkward for me to talk to someone I don’t really know. He was talking to everyone at our graduation party and you could tell he was really comfortable. I was more awkward, unless I was talking to someone I really know – like friends and teammates and coaches and my family members. But after I get over that (initial) awkwardness I’m fine.

“But I do remember Von calling me when we were freshmen.”

Baker remembers one conversation that elicited a chuckle from Cammie Young, Von’s mom.

“I didn’t talk to Von at practice, so I called his cell phone and he was in the car with his mom, Cammie,” Baker said, chuckling. “I heard her ask, ‘Is that Ty?’ And he told her it was our daily conversation and she about died laughing.

“We’ve had a great friendship and it’s only going to get better in college. Having someone who is a friend, who is going to play football and who is going to understand all the ups and downs of the game will make it easier for me, and I think for him, too.”

Young agrees.

“You don’t want to go into something like this alone and it’s going to be great to have Ty as my roommate, to share all the experiences of college football with,” Young said. “He lived in Blue Springs before moving out here, but I’ve lived in the same house all my life.

“It’s going to be fun and an exciting challenge and I’m glad we’re going to be there together.”