North Kansas City edges Fort Osage

By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: September 15, 2018 - 12:31 AM

Sitting on their own 1-yard line late in the third quarter, trailing Fort Osage 12-0, it didn’t seem like the ideal scenario for North Kansas City to finally break through, overcome their own mistakes and mount a comeback on the road against a state-ranked team.

But that’s exactly what they did.

The Hornets went 99 yards in just eight plays, anchored by workhouse running back Clyde Price who scored from 54 yards out to start a 19-18 comeback win Friday night.

“We knew what we were capable of,” Price said. “We had to keep pounding it. We stayed calm and knew what we could do. We knew it would break.”

All game long it seemed like the Hornets weren’t going to capitalize on their opportunities. They turned the ball over six times and had two turnovers on downs, but they stuck to their game plan in Price, despite his own struggles with fumbles throughout the game.

“I’m proud of the kids,” Hornets head coach Leon Douglas said. “They showed resiliency with the turnovers and some other things. We just had to stick to the plan. We continued to fight and believe.”

That plan was to ride Price to the tune of 46 carries for 308 yards. After his first score, the Hornets recovered a pooch kick and three plays later Price found the end zone again from 31 yards out to make it 13-12 Hornets.

“When it comes down to it, my O-line is perfect,” Price said. “I couldn’t ask for a better line. They’re why I’m able to get the rock 40 to 50 times a game.”

Fort Osage head coach Brock Bult knew Price would be a handful and they needed to try and stop the big plays from him.

“We knew coming in that you don’t really stop him, you just hope to contain him,” Bult said. “He slipped through twice on us. …You have to give them credit, they made plays.”

Fort Osage responded quickly after Price’s second score, as quarterback Ty Baker scored on a 13-yard run. That made it 18-13 after the failed two-point conversion. The Indian defense did their best to try and put the game away, recovering a Price fumble on the following possession, and then after the offense punted, a Cahleel Smith interception gave Fort Osage the ball back with 2 minutes, 15 seconds left to play.

But they were unable to run out the clock, as the Hornet defense forced a punt. The punt was short and gave North Kansas City the ball at the Fort Osage 48. And while the Hornets didn’t have a ton of success in the passing game, they did when it mattered.

Quarterback Seth Mattly found Price for a 19-yard gain on third-and-10, and on the very next play he threw a near-perfect ball to Brandon Hall for a 29-yard game-winning touchdown.

“The whole game I was beating my guy when they were one-on-one with me,” Hall said. “I told them at halftime that if they go one-on-one again to just throw it up there and I’ll go get it.”

The Indians got a few plays off in the final seconds but were never able to gain any positive yards. Baker was running from a relentless Hornet defensive line for most of the game. Losing two offensive linemen during the game didn’t help matters, and neither did countless penalties.

“We have to quit beating ourselves,” Bult said. “I’m not saying they didn’t beat us, but we can’t keep making it harder on ourselves.”

The Indians fell to 2-2 on the season, while the Hornets improved to 4-0. Despite the big win, Douglas doesn’t see his team getting complacent.

“Let me put it to you this way - we just beat a Top 5 team with six turnovers at their place,” Douglas said. “If we can clean things up on our end, we know what we’re capable of. That keeps us hungry.”