This is nothing new for Fort Osage.
Last season, the Indians stood 3-4 before rolling to the Class 5 final. So when these Indians stood 2-4, they saw no need to panic.
“They were in this situation last year and they knew how to handle it,” Fort Osage coach Brock Bult said. “They know it doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you end.”
There’s no guarantee Fort Osage will be a state finalist again this year, not with a team that’s had to replace most of last season’s stars. But after demolishing Ruskin 42-0 Friday night at Fort Osage, these Indians, just like last year’s, are rolling into the postseason with plenty of momentum.
Fort Osage (5-4) ended its regular season with three straight wins, the last two by a combined 77-0. That’s earned the Indians the No. 1 seed in Class 5 District 7 and a bye in the first round of the playoffs, Bult said.
They also earned a share of the Suburban Middle Seven championship when North Kansas City lost to Raytown, leaving the Indians and Northtown with 5-1 league records.
“I’m not saying we’re going to state, but we’re on a roll right now,” Fort Osage quarterback Sam Carlson said. “I think we can do good.”
Carlson was plenty good Friday. In just two quarters work, the senior tossed four touchdown passes, two of them to Will Snodgrass. With Ruskin working to contain Dom Myers and the Indians’ potent ground game, Carlson found plenty of open targets for big plays.
“I even had a conversation with Will Snodgrass before the game,” Carlson said. “I said I’m going to connect with you tonight. I connected with lot of receivers.”
Carlson connected with Myers for his first TD, a 51-yard throw down the middle of the field three plays after Ruskin fumbled on the game’s first snap.
Myers fired a halfback pass to Larenzo Fenner on the Indians’ next possession and ran in a two-point conversion. Carlson’s first TD to Snodgrass, a 20-yarder, ended the next possession; a 37-yarder to Snodgrass on third-and-14 completed the next.
“We knew there were some opportunities to take some shots tonight, more so than we normally do because we know they’re going to load up the box to try to stop our run game,” Bult said. “So it was there and we took advantage of it.”
Fort Osage led 28-0 after scoring on its first four possessions, a streak that ended when Carlson was intercepted midway through the second quarter. Ruskin only ran one play before Fort Osage linebacker Dakota Robertson picked off a Ruskin pass and rumbled to the Eagles’ 9-yard line.
That set up Carlson’s final TD pass, a 5-yarder that went to Robertson, who lined up at tight end.
“It was pretty awesome because that was the first pick I ever had,” Robertson said. “It was nice to play a little tight end and get the ball to me too.”
Robertson highlighted a Fort Osage defense that kept Ruskin (1-8) in check from the start. The Eagles didn’t get a first down until the third quarter, long after Bult emptied the Indians’ bench for the running-clock second half.
Kalib Pevey, a freshman running back, tacked on Fort Osage’s final TD with a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter.
By then, Fort Osage’s third consecutive win was in the bag. And another roll into the postseason was well underway.
“Hopefully we can keep building on this,” Bult said. “We keep stressing getting better every day. We’re not where we need to be yet but we’re moving in the right direction.”