Testing the metal

Courtesy of The Examiner

By Kaleb Huffman PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: November 11, 2017 - 12:12 AM



Top-ranked Staley faced a stiff-test against Fort Osage, but they were able to use a long fourth-quarter drive to move past Fort Osage 28-14 in a Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 5 quarterfinal game at Fort Osage High School on Friday evening.

With the game tied at 14 entering the final minutes of the third-quarter, the Falcons' (12-0) needed a drive to get them ahead on the scoreboard. After being pinned back on their own one-yard line Falcons' head coach Phil Lite instilled confidence in his senior quarterback John Raybourn to make a play.

"John's (Raybourn) performance was incredible tonight. John, just made plays for us tonight, after we had a down first-half," Lite said. "Offensively we have been playing with confidence all-year. We just  wanted to go for it. We figured they would load the box, so we just took a shot."

Raybourn dropped back on first down from his own and stood confidently in the end zone waiting for senior receiver Rod Criss II to come open on his vertical route.

That is exactly what Criss II did and 47 yards later, he had a big-play moving the Falcons closer towards the go-ahead score. Criss II finished with 5 catches for 93 yards.

"We knew we were going to take a shot. I just didn't know it was going to be to me," Criss II said. "As soon as I saw the ball in the air, I knew I had to go get it. It pumped all of our sideline up and everybody."

Eight plays later Raybourn punched in a Falcons' score after a tremendous effort that ended with him stretching the ball over the goal-line for a 20-14 Falcons lead with 10:12 left in the game. Senior placekicker Jacob Stewart converted the extra-point for a 21-14 Falcons lead.

The Falcons held the Indians' offense for a quick three-and-out and capitalized on a seven-play 64-yard drive when Raybourn found senior tight end Zach Elam in the back of the end zone for his second TD toss of the evening, stretching the Falcons lead to 28-14 after the extra-point with 4:53 remaining.

Raybourn finished 14-23 through the air for 187 yards and 2 scores adding 107 yards on the ground on 19 totes with two TD's.

"We work on those situations every week in practice. I know I have some of the best receivers in the state, if I give them a chance to make a play," Raybourn said. "Fort Osage forces us to chip-away and hats off to them for playing a good game. Looking forward to next week after being in the same position last year."

Fort Osage couldn't put anything together as the final minutes ticked away in a 28-14 Staley victory in the Class 5 quarterfinals.

Fort Osage opened the game with a 93-yard kick return by sophomore Dominic Myers on the game's first-play for a quick 6-0 lead. Later in the quarter junior quarterback Ty Baker found senior receiver Dez Griswold for a 77-yard TD.