When sophomore running back Corey Olvera suffered a season ending ACL injury in Fort Osage’s Meet The Indians preseason scrimmage, Indians head football coach Brock Bult had to make some changes to his offense.
He converted all-state wide receiver Dominic Myers into a running back and has left the pass catching duties to a trio of new starters. The offense stumbled in the first two games of the season, scoring a combined seven points.
However, in Friday’s Suburban Middle Seven Conference opener against Belton, Myers and freshman wide receiver Larenzo Fenner provided the Indians a much-needed boost as they cruised to a 41-0 victory at home.
Myers, who is 5-foot-6 and 150 pounds, has been getting used to running between the tackles. That showed against the Pirates when he mostly toted the ball up the middle. He found success, carrying the ball 28 times for 167 yards and a 1-yard touchdown run in the third period that gave Fort a 27-0 lead. He also had two catches for 18 yards.
“Coach Bult told us we were going to run it downhill,” Myers said. “When you run downhill, good things happen. In a varsity game, you can’t go from side to side. You have to go straight through. I trusted my O-line. I owe all my yardage to them.
“I just had to show my versatility to the college coaches and show them that I can play receiver and I can run through the A-gap if you need me to.”
Bult said his game plan is to get Myers the ball as much as possible.
“He is our most explosive player,” Bult said of Myers, who earned third team all-state honors as a receiver last season. “We at least want to get him the ball 15 to 20 times a game. With some of our formations, we were still able to put him out at wide receiver. He’s a big time weapon for us.”
Fenner proved he is too. He was promoted to starting wide receiver at the recommendation of the defensive coaches. The move worked Friday as he caught four passes for 90 yards and a touchdown.
“My defensive coordinators said we needed to bring him down because he was giving them fits on the scout team,” Bult said. “He’s a very good blocking receiver, too. That’s big for a team like us that runs as much as we do. He’s got big upside. We have to keep him level-headed.”
Fenner had a 24-yard catch from Sam Carlson in which he leapt backward and made a two-handed grab. That eventually set up a 4-yard touchdown run from Valentino Ulberg, who mostly plays on the defensive line.
With 9:24 left in the third, Fenner blew right by a Belton cornerback who tried to get into the freshman’s head throughout the game and caught a 34-yard TD strike from Carlson to make it 21-0.
“He was kind of talking trash,” Fenner said of the Belton cornerback guarding him. “I was just trying to keep my composure, so I wouldn’t do nothing dumb to get kicked out of the game. It just felt great. There was a lot of excitement.”
Myers said he knew Fenner was capable of performances like this.
“I told him since he was a little kid that he was going to be something special,” Myers said of Fenner. “I am looking for big things from this guy right here.”
Zach Domanski scored on a 1-yard plunge to get the scoring started for Fort Osage. Cornerback Zeppelin Velder picked up a botched option pitch by Belton and had a 14-yard fumble return for a TD early in the fourth quarter; and Jaeden Penamon scored on a 4-yard run to cap Fort Osage’s big night.
On defense, Fort Osage held an opponent to single digits scoring or fewer for the second time this season. Aside from a 36-yard pass on the opening drive, Belton didn’t have another play that netted more than 8 yards. The Indians held the Pirates to 85 total yards, including just 49 on the ground.
“It was straight domination,” Ulberg said. “I already knew we were going to do what we did. (A Belton 36-yard pass on the opening drive) woke us up in the beginning.”