Fort Osage shakes off distractions to run past Van Horn

Bill Althaus
The Examiner

A week of homecoming activities and a two-hour pep assembly – outdoors in the heat – made for a bit of a rough start for the Fort Osage Indians Friday night. 

They quickly discovered that the Van Horn Falcons came to play. 

David Lewis scored on a 2-yard touchdown run and D'Anthony Jones caught a two-point conversion pass from Da'Marcus Penson to pull Van Horn within 21-14 with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. 

But the Indians got the ball and drove to the 11 as Xander Shepherd kicked a 33-yard field goal with no time showing on the clock to make it 24-14 going into halftime. 

"I was not happy with the first half, and I let the guys know it," said Bult, who saw his team score 27 third-quarter points on the way to a 58-20 win over the Falcons.  

Millieon Woods, left, celebrates with teammate Daniel Tapusoa (10) after scooping up a David Jacquez blocked punt and returning it for a touchdown in Friday's game against Van Horn  Fort Osage claimed a 58-20 victory.

"Look, it's homecoming, we had an outdoor assembly and the first half we didn't do much of anything. So I challenged my guys, and they responded, just like I hoped they would. I told them we had a lot of distractions this week, and that we needed to go out and play Fort Osage football, and that's what you saw in the second half." 

All-state linebacker David Jacquez blocked his second punt of the game and Millieon Woods picked it up for a touchdown. 

"Jacquez blocks two," said Bult, "and I thought it was nice of him to back off and let (Larenzo) Fenner catch one so he could return it for a score."

Fort Osage running back Javen Hall finds open running room between Van Horn defenders Terrell Johnson, left, and Darrius Paige, right, in Friday's game at Fort Osage. The host Indians went on to a 58-20 victory.

Which the junior sensation did, taking the Van Horn punt and somehow avoiding seven would-be tacklers while dancing along the near sideline, for a 48-yard score. Fenner had an 84-yard punt return called back two weeks ago because of penalties. 

"I need to thank Hawk (Jacquez) for not blocking another punt so I could get a return," Fenner said with a laugh as Woods joined the conversation. 

"That man, that man right there," said Woods, pointing to Jacquez, "is responsible for my first high school touchdown. When I saw him block it, I was wondering who was going to pick up the ball, so I picked it up and scored my first high school touchdown! I love you Hawk!" 

An offensive line that was again missing key starters due to injury and COVID-19 protocols rebounded from last week's loss at North Kansas City – in which quarterback Greg Menne was sacked 13 times – to star in both pass protection and run blocking. 

Menne was 8 of 10 passing for 185 yards and the Indians carried the ball 33 times for 205 yards, with Corey Olvera getting 104 yards on 16 carries. 

"I told you our coaches would coach the guys up on the line and they'd be great this week," Menne said. "That's a great Van Horn team, they really impressed me tonight. 

"But at the half, Coach Bult challenged us and we came out and played Fort Osage football the second half." 

Olvera had touchdown runs of 8 and 15 yards and Javen Hall added 2- and 4-yard touchdown carries. 

Menne hooked up with Christen Penamon for an explosive 76-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and freshman Ryver Peppers had a 54-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. 

Lewis finished with 128 yards on 11 carries and Penson and Andrew Murphy were a combined 17-of-24 for 121 yards to lead Van Horn. 

Following the game, Van Horn coach Roshaad Byrd had a heart-to-heart talk with his team that dealt with life beyond the gridiron." 

"Fort Osage is a tremendous football team, the type of team and program we hope to be one day," Byrd said after his team fell to 2-2. "But a game like this can relate to life in a lot of ways. You have to seize the moment, and battle through adversity and that is what our team is going to do.” 

He then pointed to a group of Falcons who were getting more inspiration from former Van Horn quarterback Sean Mitchell, who is now a freshman at William Jewell College. 

"I love to see that," Byrd said. "That's how you build a football culture." 

Hall of Honor inductees 

Mike Willey (Class of 1963), Ronald Alexander (1970), John Mayfield (1985), Coach Dave Fry's 1991 state championship baseball team, Katie Hoppenstedt (2007) and E.J. Gaines (2010) were inducted into the Fort Osage Hall of Honor before the game.