As advertised

Jason Lawrence/PrepsKC

By Jason Lawrence PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: September 18, 2015 - 11:36 PM

All game long, Kegan Lammering knew the game was going to come down to him. He couldn’t shake the feeling.

Sure enough, tied 14-14 in overtime with No. 3 Staley, top-ranked Fort Osage called on its junior kicker on fourth-and-three.

Lammering, who missed a 33-yard kick late in the first half, pushed the 35-yard kick wide left. Luckily for him, though, Staley had leapt over the center and drawn a personal foul penalty, giving the Indians a new life.

“I did that last year against Park Hill (in the sectional round of the Class 5 playoffs) and I just regretted it the whole time,” Lammering said. “I was nervous the whole game. I was like, ‘It’s probably going to come down to me.’ It did and it was going through my head the whole time, ‘I needed the win.”

Again, it came to fourth-and-three, this time from the left hash as opposed to straight on, and Lammering delivered a 24-yard field goal to allow the Indians to escape with a 17-14 victory.

Fort Osage head coach Ryan Schartz, who has not lost a regular season game since Sept. 28, 2012 to Staley, compared the game to a prize fight after his team came back to claim its fourth victory over the Falcons in seven tries.

“It’s great to escape with a win like this up here at their place,” he said. “It’s just a great rivalry between the two schools. If you go back and look at the six-year history … it’s 4-3 Fort Osage. If you look at points scored and points against, it’s literally one point if you average them out. Every game with these guys has been a game like that. It’s fun to coach. Great rivalry.”

It was Staley (4-1) that took all of the momentum early, though, forcing Fort Osage into a three-and-out to open the game before taking advantage of a short field to grab a 7-0 lead just more than two minutes into the game. Senior quarterback Michael Kilpatrick found senior tight end Connor McCullough for a 19-yard touchdown and a 10-yard run by junior Julian Ross just over five minutes later, after another Indians three-and-out, made it 14-0.

The Indians, however, came up with interceptions — by seniors Bryce Richardson and Jesse Reser — on the next two Staley possessions and forced a fumble on the Falcons’ final full drive before halftime but were unable to convert the takeaways into any points, going into the locker room down 14-0.

“We were in a pretty good spot on that first drive and a couple drives later, but we turned the ball over a few times that we’ll have to clean up,” Staley head coach Fred Bouchard said.

The Indians’ defense didn’t waste any time coming out of halftime, turning their fourth takeaway of the night into points. Senior Jonah Tuimaseve broke on a Kilpatrick pass and saw nothing but open field on his way to the end zone.

“They just kept telling us that Staley was the best defense and telling us all this stuff,” Tuimaseve said. “In our minds, we were like ‘No, we’re the best defense. We have more heart and more feel for the game.’

“When I saw that opportunity, I had to take it. I took the opportunity and brought us back, and it was just a great feeling. … I saw open field and I was just running.

The 34-yard pick-6 gave the Indians just the boost they needed, despite the extra point getting blocked, forcing the Falcons into another quick three-and-out.

“They go up 14-0 and you could start to see it a little bit on our sideline, they were unsure about what was going to happen and then Jonah makes a big play like that and puts points on the board,” Schartz said. “That just gives us a little bit of life. … I felt like that was a big momentum swing.”

Senior quarterback Skylar Thompson then engineered a 94-yard scoring drive, picking up a pair of long third downs, once completely reversing field to pick up 17 yards and then finding senior Matt Smith over the middle on a post route to set up a 24-yard touchdown pass to senior Donte Dodson.

For good measure, Thompson shoveled a pass to sophomore Isaiah Iloilo to pick up the two-point conversion and knot the score at 14 with 3:43 to go in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was a defensive display, each teach managing to pick up a first down on just one drive, forcing overtime.

“I think really the story of the game is the defense and two really great defenses squaring off tonight,” Schartz said. “Two of the best, I think, in the state of Missouri. It was just fun to watch our defensive guys fly around and make plays.

“… Honestly, I felt pretty good about overtime, that’s why we didn’t really force the issue there at the end of (regulation) when we were on the minus side of the field.”

Bouchard was equally confident heading into the extra period, taking the ball first. The Fort Osage defense, as was custom throughout the second half, made the play when it mattered most, getting off the field in four plays, Tuimaseve breaking up the fourth down pass.

“We thought we were just a sliver away from picking up a first down and buying three or four more downs, then we got stymied, then we get a real dumb penalty … but if we can’t overcome one or two of those, it’s not good enough,” Bouchard said. “I’m not going to bail us out. We better figure out how to do some things better.”

Despite the hiccup on the first attempt, Lammering’s second attempt was true, pushing the Indians to 5-0 heading back home for Week 6 against William Chrisman (2-4).

Staley will try and regroup after its first loss of the year, hitting the road to face North Kansas City (2-3), which ended a three-game losing skid against Chrisman Friday night, next week.

“Right now, it doesn’t feel great. We just lost our first game of the year, but we know that’s a competitive team,” Bouchard said. “We just feel like, ‘Dang, man, we were this close.’

“… We’re one play away from beating the No. 1 team in the state that hasn’t lost a regular season game since we beat them in 2012. That doesn’t necessarily satisfy us right here and now, but it means we’ll be pretty battle tested.”