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Staley runs past Fort Osage

By Michael Smith
The Examiner

Fort Osage couldn't slow Staley's multi-pronged rushing attack Friday, falling 42-18 on the road.  

The host Falcons dominated up front and used a committee of four running backs to total 248 yards on the ground, and they delivered knockout blow in the fourth quarter after an Indians turnover.

“The guys flew around and played hard,” Fort Osage coach Brock Bult said after his team dropped to 0-2 with the non-conference loss. “Now we just have to get them to play together and play smart. We have a lot of learning going on right now. We just have to get them going together and get that chemistry going.

“The first thing that stood out to me was the missed tackles.”

Fort Osage was still in the game with about seven minutes left, down 35-18. The Indians forced Staley to punt but returner Razhai Jones couldn’t haul it in and the Falcons recovered the muffed punt.

Staley then put it away when Fabian McLeod scored on a 4-yard run. 

“We’ve been blessed to have a stable of running backs,” Staley coach Phil Lite said. “Last year we had five and this year we find ourselves with four kids that we feel comfortable putting in there. We have a 1-2 punch. All the kids do a good job running the ball hard and you saw that tonight.

“I thought we were physical but I think we could be more physical. We have always been known to be physical and opponents know we are going to run downhill.”

That opened things up for quarterback Jehr Fowler, who threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns, completing 11 of his 17 pass attempts.

His team got things started early when McLeod broke a couple of tackles on a run up the middle to make it 7-0 unjust 1 minute, 18 seconds into the contest.

Fort responded late in the first when quarterback Greg Menne floated a pass to the back left corner of the end zone for a 25-yard TD pass to wide receiver Will Snodgrass. Staley blocked the ensuing extra-point attempt to keep the lead at 7-6.

Staley dominated the rest of the first half by scoring the next three touchdowns – a 55-yard pass from Fowler to Ezra Peterson, a 6-yard run from Fowler and a Fowler screen pass to McLeod for 12-yards to make it 28-6 at halftime.

In between the latter two touchdowns, Larenzo Fenner dropped a pass on a deep ball from Menne. Fenner had his defender beat and it appeared he would have a touchdown with 1:51 left in the half. But it was not to be as the Indians weren’t able to keep the score close.

Fort Osage got a score with 1:25 left in the third when running back Corey Olvera scored on a 1-yard run. That was preceded by a pair of fourth-down conversions in which Menne connected with Fenner on passes of 10 and 11. A failed two-point conversion made it 28-12 but that was as close as the Indians got.

Falcons running back David Brooks broke off a 58-yard TD run early in the fourth to make it 35-12 before Fort Osage got its last touchdown at the 8:54 mark when Menne connected with Fenner on a deep pass for 36 yards before throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Ben Nettleton in the flat.

Despite Fort Osage struggling on offense for most of the first half, Menne had an impressive showing with his arm and his feet. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 183 yards and two scores. He also carried the ball 16 times for 82 yards.

“He’s still growing, too,” Bult said of Menne. “He’s a very talented kid but we are going to have some growing pains along the way. We had a few today that might have gone noticed. But we saw them and talked about them.”