It didn't take long for the Fort Osage High School football team to discover that carelessness in a Hornets' nest results in getting stung.
The Indians grabbed a 21-17 lead Friday night at North Kansas City Stadium only to see a series of mistakes lead to a disappointing 38-21 loss.
Yet, moments after he talked to his team at midfield, coach Brock Bult was greeted by his 8-year-old son Brody at midfield, who excitedly told his dad about his flag football game in Grain Valley Saturday afternoon.
"That puts it all into perspective, doesn't it?" Bult asked. "We just need to keep working, to keep working hard, to clean some things up. We certainly did it last season, and we can do it again this year."
The Indians were 3-4 at one point in 2018 and turned things around to make it to the Class 5 state championship game.
"That is the team, the program, that we have been trying to emulate, to become," North Kansas City coach Leon Douglas said after his Hornets improved to 4-0. "I have so much respect for Coach Bult and Coach (Ryan) Schartz (who led the Indians to a state championship before turning the reigns over to Bult, as he became the Fort Osage activities director). We had to work hard to get this win, and I know they are going to go on and have a great season."
The Hornets became one of the most successful teams in North Kansas City history last season, and this year, Douglas said everyone opponent is coming to play with their A game.
"We're not sneaking up on anyone this year," Douglas said, grinning. "And, as a team, our expectations are different this year. We expect to go out and win on Friday nights, and so far, we have been able to do that."
Fort Osage took a 7-0 lead at 8:41 of the first period on a Zach Domanski 4-yard run, but the Hornets tied the score at 7-all four minutes later on a 22-yard run by Brandon Hall.
A roughing the passer call with no time showing on the scoreboard clock gave Northtown's Ronaldo Calderon the chance to kick a 32-yard field go at the end of the second period. His kick was perfect and the Hornets led 10-7 at the half.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Valentino Ulberg gave the Indians a 14-10 lead at 10:15 of the third period, but it was short lived. North Kansas City’s Jeremy Brown scored on a 36-yard run to put the Hornets up 17-14 at 6:04.
Dominic Myers gave the Indians their final lead of the night as he slipped four tackles on an eye-popping 47-yard touchdown run at 2:34 of the third period.
But that would be the Indians last hurrah as North Kansas City scored 21 unanswered points to keep their perfect season alive.
"This is so disappointing, because I know we are a better team than the way we played tonight," said Ulberg, who is best known as a leader on the Fort Osage defensive line. "We would stop them, then they would make a big play. We made a lot of mistakes, too. We have a lot to work on this week, and the rest of the season."
The Hornets carried the ball 50 times for 311 yards, with Brown getting 36 carries for 157 yards.
Myers led the Indians with 19 carries for 131 yards and had one reception for 29 yards. Sam Carlson was 3 of 8 for 69 yards with two interceptions.
"There are a lot of football games to be played and a lot of time to get better," Bult said, as Brody talked to his dad about his flag football game.
The loss still stung – but not quite as bad as it had before Brody grabbed center stage.