Another week, another win

Brian Davidson/The Examiner

By Bill Knust PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: October 11, 2014 - 9:12 AM

After throwing his second interception of the game trying to salt away a victory, all Fort Osage quarterback Skylar Thompson could do was hope his defense would come through again.

Like they had done twice before, the Class 5 No. 1-ranked Indians (8-0) held No. 8-ranked Liberty North (5-3) without a score inside the Fort Osage red zone, getting an interception off a deflected pass from Brennan Garrett with 1 minute, 41 seconds remaining to preserve a 17-10 road victory.

“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” Thompson said. “You never want to find yourself in that situation. Our defense buckled down when they needed to and stood strong.”

In the end the three red zone stops and a forced fumble that led to a touchdown were the story of the night. Liberty North rushed for just 62 yards on 27 carries, but Eagles quarterback Brian Sharp was just effective enough through the air to threaten Fort Osage’s defense throughout the game. Only one time, though, did Sharp have the ultimate answer.

Indians’ coach Ryan Schartz said he challenged his defense to step up and match a Liberty North defense that had allowed just 50 points total through the first seven weeks of the season.

“We had talked all week about (Liberty North’s) defense, and they have one of the best defenses in Kansas City, I think,” Schartz said. “But, I felt like our defense was just as good, if not better. I was talking a little bit of trash on (our defense) this week, and they showed up tonight and played really well.”

The key point in the game came midway through the third quarter. After taking over at its own 24-yard line, Liberty North moved it to their 40 in just four plays, but the fifth on the drive was the biggest. Fighting for extra yards, Eagles running back Richard Richardson had the ball poked free, and Fort Osage’s Bryce Richardson jumped on the loose ball setting the Indians up with excellent field position.

Then Thompson went to work. He was 5-for-6 through the air on the drive including a key conversion on third-and-10 from Liberty North’s 16-yard line. His 12-yard strike on the move to Kevin Rush extended the drive, and Thompson finished the drive on the next play. He fought his way in on a designed quarterback run from 4 yards out to give Fort Osage the 14-7 lead.

Thompson’s ability to extend the play was the biggest difference throughout the night. The time he bought helped prolong several drives. It was another day at the office for the Indians’ Houdini.

“You saw him tonight. He was trapped. He was in jail,” Schartz said. “He does a couple of spin moves. Goes backwards. Heck, I don’t know. I don’t coach that, I will tell you that much. He does that on his own and just extends the life of the play. It allows our athletic wide receivers to get open late. It is not something you draw up, but he just makes it happen.”

Indians kicker Kegan Lammering added a 28-yard field goal to make it 17-7 after the Indians’ defense stopped Liberty North on fourth and 12 from the Indians’ 24-yard line.

After completing two third and long situations in the second quarter, Thompson found receiver Matt Smith streaking across the back of the end zone, sticking a ball right in Smith’s chest from 13 yards out to grab the 7-0 lead with 4:41 remaining in the first half.

The Eagles put together an impressive drive to finish the first half, and tie it just before half. Sharp found fullback Devon Davis in the flat, and Davis did the rest rumbling in to tie the score, 7-7.

Sharp had three key conversions of his own on the drive, converting two third downs and a fourth down with his arm. He finished the night 21-for-37 with 201 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

Thompson was 14-for-21 with 153 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions on the night. He als rushed for a touchdown. Running back Jesse McBee was a workhorse, carrying 29 times for 114 yards.

“Our o-line did a great job of sticking with it all night, and Jesse ran hard. Our fullback did a great job of kicking the end out all night. We did well on offense.”

For Liberty North, it was another close loss against a top team in the city. Eagles coach Ken Clemens thinks his team is close to breaking through.

“I think the kids understand they were in a position to beat the No. 1 team in the state tonight,” Clemens said. “We just need to be on the right end of the bouncing ball.”