Scraping one out

Jason Lawrence/PrepsKC

By Jason Lawrence PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: August 21, 2015 - 11:09 PM

With tempers flaring Friday night, Class 5’s top ranked team, Fort Osage, survived an early deficit and four ejections to pull away from Raytown South in the second half of its 27-14 victory.

“These games like this, we have to get tough,” Fort Osage head coach Ryan Schartz said. “We have to fight through adversity, fight through ejections, fight through injuries, things of that nature. I thought our kids handled it fairly well.”

With both defenses firing on all cylinders, forcing more turnovers on downs than there were first downs in the opening quarter, Raytown South was able to break through first early in the second quarter when senior quarterback Jabril Cox hit junior Tyree Sorrells up the seam for a 48-yard touchdown. Cox added the two-point conversion to put the Indians on their heels.

“Getting up on them is awesome, and now we’ve got to learn how to build on that and play with a lead,” Raytown South head coach Nick Adkins said.

However, just two plays later, Indians senior Skylar Thompson hit senior Donte Dodson with a back-shoulder pass down the sideline for a 50-yard score. The conversion failed, and that’s where the score remained until halftime.

“It was a big momentum switch,” Thompson said. “… We’re really not used to being down on the scoreboard. They threw a punch, we punched back. Coach Schartz always explains football as a boxing match. They’re gonna give us a jab, we’ve got to give them a jab back.

“We knew it was just a matter of time before we would start getting stuff going.”

Fort Osage shook the first-game jitters coming out of the locker room and engineered a 65-yard touchdown drive on the strength of senior Bailey Williamson’s legs. Williamson ran for three first downs on the drive and Thompson finished it off with a 2-yard plunge, added the two-point conversion and the Indians never looked back.

“We weren’t playing very physical, we came into halftime and felt like we were playing too much finesse football, and needed to come out and smack them a little bit, get a little more physical and establish the run” Schartz said. “We were able to get a couple good runs off and that helped our confidence.”

The Indians, who had four players ejected — two stemming from a first half shoving match following a late hit out of bounds on Thompson — opened the fourth quarter with a 1-yard run around the left side by Williamson for a score. Raytown South also had a player ejected in the first-half skirmish.

“It’s a physical and emotional game,” Schartz said. “We can do better than that.”

Fort Osage senior Caleb Jonas, who came in after Thompson was shaken up with a just over seven minutes to play, connected with Dodson on a 59-yard touchdown pass on his first play under center to push the lead to 27-8 after the extra point was blocked.

“What I call him (Jonas) is ‘Mr. Utility Man,’” Schartz said of Jonas. “He does everything. He plays receiver, plays quarterback, he can play running back for us, he can do about everything you want him to do. … He’s got a little bit of moxie to him, and you saw that tonight. He threw a nice ball to Donte when we needed it.”

Shartz said he wasn’t sure of Thompson’s status, but that he does not suspect a concussion at this point. He added they would re-evaluate their signal caller Saturday, but that he thinks the injury has to do with muscles in Thompson’s neck.

The Cardinals refused to quit, however, and Cox hit junior Sahron Cunningham down the sideline for a 55-yard touchdown with 5:23 to play to trim the Indians’ lead to 27-14.

“It’s always important, especially with a young team, seeing thme continue to battle,” Adkins said. “That’s what we want from these guys. Like I told them at the end, I’m ready to go play every Friday night with them. … If we keep on fighting like that, we’re going to win a couple.”

Jonas and Co. salted away the rest of the time, kneeling out the last 30 seconds inside the Cardinals’ red zone to give the Indians a win in their home opener.

Fort Osage travels to take on Blue Springs (0-1) next week while Raytown South will host Truman (0-1).