Going into the 2019 season, Fort Osage football head coach Brock Bult said he knew the offense was going to be a work in progress.
Bult, who had been a defensive coordinator for his entire career, took over the offensive play calling duties this year. Fort Osage also has turned to senior Sam Carlson, who didn’t play football last season, as its quarterback.
It’s a big mountain to climb for Carlson as he is following two NCAA Division I quarterbacks in Sylar Thompson and Ty Baker, both of whom led the Indians to deep playoff runs.
“I told Sam when I came over to the offensive side that we were all going to grow together, learn together and get better together,” Bult said.
Overall, it was a struggle for the Indians to move the ball in their season opener at Raytown South. They leaned heavily on all-state wide receiver Dominic Myers, who had a career-high 28 touches Friday. He and the Indians weren’t able to find the end zone, however, in a mistake-loaded 6-0 loss.
“We’re not far away on offense,” Bult said. “You can see on the film already on the sideline. Just one block here, one read there, one missed hole here. We just have to get things cleaned up and we will be fine.”
Myers, who had to ask to come out of the game on a few occasions, had 27 carries for 122 yards and one lost fumble. He also had one reception for nine yards. The talented senior did not shy away from the responsibility of carrying the offensive load.
“Coach Bult asked me earlier in the week if I could handle 30 carries, and I said, ‘Whatever I can do to help out the team,’” Myers said. “In practice, I need to get more in shape so I can get more of those touches.”
Bult said he depended mostly on Myers out of necessity, and said the senior did an admirable job.
“We have a lot of injuries to tailbacks and some other issues,” Bult said. “Dom was forced to move from wide receiver to tailback late in the week. He did a pretty good job toting the ball. I wasn’t planning on giving it to him that many times. We just couldn’t finish a drive.”
Outside of Myers, the Indians gained 29 yards. Carlson struggled in his first varsity start, completing 4 of his 13 passes for 33 yards and five interceptions. One of those interceptions sealed the game for the Cardinals when Carlson heaved a pass on fourth-and-13 from the South 24-yard line. The 5-foot-6 Myers tried to leap and grab it, but Malik McGhee-Polson reached above him and made the interception with 1:19 left in the game.
“He’s a varsity baseball guy, you know, that’s two different sports,” Myers said of Carlson. “Quarterback is the hardest position on the field. I don’t doubt him for throwing those turnovers. He’s going to learn from it. It’s hard transition. It’s still Week 1. He will be fine.”
Fort Osage made it as far as the Cardinal 11-yard line, but all game long the offense stalled when it got inside South territory.
The Cardinals got their lone touchdown on the opening drive. On fourth-and-one from the Fort Osage 41, quarterback Kevin Connor connected with wide receiver Elijah Cole on a fly route which set up Jovon Ray’s 1-yard TD run.
Outside of that drive, the Indians defense was stout. It held the Cardinals to just two yards rushing and 129 through the air.
“We started off slow,” senior defensive lineman Giovanni Willis said. “Then we picked it up later in the game.”
In the post-game huddle, Bult kept it positive, voicing his pleasure for the effort and telling his team, “We’re going to get this right.” There are still some things to shore up, though, Willis and Myers noted.
“We have to go harder and practice and give more effort,” Willis said. “We have to stop being lazy and all that.”
Added Myers: “In my opinion, we overlooked Raytown South, and it showed. We can’t do that anymore.”
Dakota Robertson led Fort Osage (0-1) with two sacks and Valentino Ulberg and Brayden McBee each had one.