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Fort Osage outlasts Miller, Chrisman to close with win

By Michael Smith
The Examiner

There were a couple of rare sights in Friday’s regular season high school football finale between U.S. 24 rivals Fort Osage and William Chrisman.

Bears sophomore Anthony Miller III rushed for 205 yards on five carries – in the first half alone – having one of the best rushing performances in the history of the Chrisman program. Looking at the stat may have people thinking the Bears were victorious.

They might have been if it wasn’t for another rare occurrence, Fort Osage sophomore quarterback Greg Menne. He did something that is not often seen at the high school level as he had just two incompletions while throwing more than 15 passes. He completed 16 of 18 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-39 win over the host Bears at Norman James Field.

After the game, Fort Osage wide receiver Larenzo Fenner gave Menne some high praise.

“He’s the best quarterback in the Midwest,” Fenner said.

Menne certainly at least looked like one of the best Friday. He escaped pressure from the Chrisman defense consistently throughout and was able to connect on passes while on the run. One came on the Indians’ final touchdown when he hit fullback David Jacquez on a play-action pass from 6 yards out to give Fort Osage a 48-25 lead with 4:41 left in the third quarter.

“The offense did great and we executed the game plan,” Menne said. “In the locker room, I knew (the defense) had my back (in the second half). They were super determined and I am super excited to have them as my defense.

“This was one of my best games. I am just glad (Fenner) and my other wide receivers gave me the opportunity to shine.”

Fort Osage head coach Brock Bult was impressed with his young quarterback, but still had one minor criticism of his performance.

“He was good, but I wish he would have taken a couple more incompletions and learn to throw the ball away when it’s not there,” Bult said. “That will be the next stage of his growing process. He’s progressing every week; you can see it.

“The kids are following him, and he’s a tough kid.”

That was the last score of a 21-point run for the Indians (3-6) to start the second half. They led just 27-25 at halftime, but that TD pass – in addition to Fenner’s 85-yard kickoff return for a score to start the second half and a 10-yard TD run by Izaiah Larusch – allowed Fort Osage to build a cushion that it couldn’t in the first half.

A big difference in the final 24 minutes was Fort Osage figuring out how to bottle up Miller. After allowing the sophomore to rush for 205 yards in the first half, the Indians held him to 75 yards on six carries in the second, 69 of which came on one run.

The teams traded touchdowns back and forth throughout the entire first half. Fort Osage recovered an onside kick to start the game and capitalized on a 58-yard scoring pass from Menne to Fenner, who had 106 yards on five receptions.

Chrisman (1-8, 1-4 Suburban Middle Six) responded with a TD on a 30-yard screen pass from quarterback Dayne Herl to Kameron Thompson to tie it at 6 after a missed point-after try at the 9-minute mark in the first period.

Sophomore running back Jadean Penamon, who had 92 yards on 15 carries, scored on a 32-yard run to put Fort Osage up 13-6, but Miller tied it again on a 44-yard scoring run through a big hole up the middle.

Fort Osage scored its last two TDs of the half on a 38-yard pass from Menne to Ben Nettleton and a 17-yard completion from Menne to Fenner on fourth-and-goal play.

Chrisman scored a pair on Miller runs of 80 and 75 yards. However, the Indians still led 27-25 at halftime because they made their two extra-point attempts and the Bears missed theirs.

“Anthony is a good kid, he runs hard,” Chrisman coach Mattew Perry said of Miller, who finished with 280 yards on 11 carries. “He had a great night.”

After the Indians’ 21-0 run to start the second half, Chrisman scored twice on senior D’Muari Franklin’s 7-yard run and an impressive 17-yard catch by Franklin from Herl in which he had to drag his toes in the back left corner of the end zone to stay in bounds with 2:21 left. However, Chrisman was only able to convert one of two two-point conversion attempts, and it was still down by two scores.

“We are just defensively not a great team and we need to get better at that,” Perry said. “I challenged the kids to play this game like it was their last one and they did that tonight.”

Larusch finished with 82 yards on 14 carries for Fort Osage, which finished 2-3 in the Middle Six.