Fort Osage looks to return to state final but must face undefeated Holt first

Bill Althaus
The Examiner
Fort Osage quarterback Greg Menne drops back to pass during a win over Blue Springs South earlier this season. Menne will lead the Indians into Friday's Class 5 state semifinal at Wentzville Holt.

Following a 35-0 Class 5 state quarterfinal win at Grain Valley last Friday, coach Brock Bult told his Fort Osage Indians to enjoy the moment.

"Enjoy it tonight," Bult said, after his team improved to 11-1 on the season, "because we get to work tomorrow." 

Senior linebacker David Jacquez, who was recently named the Suburban Middle Six Conference Defensive Player of the Year, enjoyed the moment, but said, "As soon as we leave this locker room, I'm getting ready for Holt." 

The Indians will meet the 12-0 Holt Indians at 6 p.m. Friday in Wentzville, Mo., in a Class 5 state semifinal game that will determine who goes to the Show-Me Bowl state championship game the following weekend at Faurot Field in Columbia. 

"I went to state as a freshman, and got to watch from the sidelines four years ago," Jacquez said, "and now, four years later, we have the chance to go to state and play – not just watch, but play. We're fired up, we're ready and we can't wait for (the semifinal game)."

More:Fort Osage defense wears down Grain Valley to earn Class 5 state semifinal berth

Fort Osage senior linebacker David Jacquez signals to the sideline during the Class 5 state quarterfinal win over Grain Valley last Friday. Jacquez, the Suburban Middle Six Defensive Player of the Year, leads the Indians' defense into Friday's state semifinal against Wentzville Holt.

Junior quarterback Greg Menne said his team has a healthy respect for Holt, which edged St. Louis Chaminade 31-28 in its quarterfinal, but his Indians have yet to put together a complete game. 

"We know Holt is undefeated and a great team, but we've played and beat three great teams to get to the semifinals – Staley, Platte County and Grain Valley – and we're going to keep grinding this week because we don't want our season to end Friday (in Wentzville),” said Menne, who has thrown for 1,580 yards, 13 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

More:Shepherd's kick, big plays, defense lift Fort Osage into state quarterfinals

"We're confident, but we're not overconfident. We trailed early against Staley and Platte County and it was 0-0 last week at halftime against Grain Valley, so we know we can come back and play great second halves. What we need to do is play a complete 60 minutes of football."

Fort Osage's Larenzo Fenner (1) breaks free during a game against William Chrisman earlier this season. Fenner leads the Indians with 1,427 all-purpose yards entering Friday's Class 5 state semifinal against Wentzville Holt.

The Indians have one of the premier return men and receivers in the state in junior Larenzo Fenner, who has four punt returns for touchdowns and seven touchdown receptions among his 46 catches for 767 yards. 

"Our coaches have us ready to go, all fired up," Fenner said. "Coach Bult and our defense are going to take care of business because we know they can score a lot of points, and we hope to score a lot of points, too. I think it's going to be a great game and I hope our fans can make the trip to support us."

More:Xander Shepherd's kick sends Fort Osage into district title game

Bult said the key to success is stopping Holt's offense, which has scored at least 27 points in each game and is averaging 45.5 points per game during its undefeated season. 

"They're big, and they can run the ball," Bult said. "We're going to have our work cut out for us, but we had our work cut out for us against Staley, Platte County and Grain Valley." 

Bult said this has been a special season because his players believed in themselves from the start of practice in August. 

"We were 3-7 last year, and we were so young, but all those young guys got valuable experience and worked hard to get to where we are today," the coach added. "I'm so proud of them, this has been a great season. And we hope it gets even greater." 

Battle of the Indians 

Who: Fort Osage Indians (11-1) vs. Wentzville Holt Indians (12-0) 

What: Class 5 football state semifinal 

When/where: 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, at Holt High School, Wentzville, Mo.

Series: First meeting 

Final four history: This is Holt’s first state semifinal appearance. This is Fort Osage’s fifth time in the state semifinals and it is 4-0 in previous games, winning in 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018. Fort Osage finished as state runner-up in 2009, 2012 and 2018 and won the 2015 Class 5 state title. 

Road to the final four: Holt defeated Columbia Battle 48-12, Jefferson City Helias Catholic 34-6 and St. Louis Chaminade 31-28 to reach the semifinals. Fort Osage topped Staley 17-14, Platte County 22-20 and Grain Valley 35-0 to advance. 

Fort Osage key players: QB Greg Menne (95-150, 1,580 yards, 13 TDs, 2 int.); WR/KR Larenzo Fenner (46 receptions, 767 yards, 7 TDs, 1,427 all-purpose yards); RB Javen Hall (166 carries, 925 yards, 13 TDs); RB Corey Olvera (116 carries, 565 yards, 7 TDs); LB David Jacquez (126 tackles, 27 TFL, 11 sacks, 2 int., 2 blocked punts); MLB Daniel Tapusoa (103 tackles, 9 TFL, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries); DB Roman Tillmon (91 tackles, 11 PD); DL Bryston Meyer (79 tackles, 14 TFL, 7 sacks); Brock Branstietter (50 tackles, 11 TFL, 2 sacks); K Xander Shepherd (67 points, 40-44 PAT, 9-12 FG, long of 43). 

Holt key players: QB Cooper Brown (202-279, 2,913 yards, 37 TDs, 5 int., 395 yards rushing); RB Kyle Wuebbeling (210 carries, 1,532 yards, 20 TDs); WR Jackson Smith (92 receptions, 1,089 yards, 18 TDs); TE Alex Ginnever (32 receptions, 626 yards, 8 TDs); LB Zakhi Johnson (123 tackles, 10 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 int.); LB Kaden Moore (99 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 2 sacks); FS Isaiah Slaughter (82 tackles, 3 TFL, 6 int.); CB Jack Byrne (26 tackles, 5 int.).