Fort Osage quarterback Steven McBee had trouble calling plays during practice this week.
By SAM McDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
No one blamed him. His mind was elsewhere.
McBee learned Tuesday that his grandfather, Jim Bedsworth, died suddenly of a heart attack. Grandpa Jim hadn’t missed one of McBee’s football games in six years.
He sure would have enjoyed this one.
McBee willed Fort Osage to a 20-3 victory at Staley in the Class 5 quarterfinals Saturday afternoon. The Indians, 12-1, will host Ozark in the semifinals Friday.
Fort Osage scored 17 unanswered points — all in the fourth quarter, and all thanks to a senior quarterback who had a lot to play for.
"I was able to block everything out for the most part," McBee said. "But when we got ahead in the fourth quarter, there were some emotions coming out."
After his one-yard touchdown run gave the Indians a seemingly insurmountable 20-3 lead with four minutes to play, McBee ran for the sideline, looked up at the crowd and pointed toward his grandfather’s usual spot in the stands.
Minutes later, he pushed through tears to celebrate the biggest win of his high school career — one that knocked the defending Class 5 state champions out of the postseason.
"My teammates told me before the game they weren’t going to let me lose this game," McBee said with his offensive line standing behind him. "They won for me. I’ll never forget that."
McBee played his part. He entered the day 0-3 against Staley in his three-year career, including a one-point loss in last year’s postseason and three-point defeat earlier this fall.
He notched victory No. 1 behind 110 rushing yards on 24 carries and a fourth-quarter touchdown pass. On the receiving end of that 43-yard pass, fittingly enough, was brother Jesse. It was the first time the two brothers hooked up for a touchdown this season.
"It was a broken play," Jesse McBee said. "He was getting rushed, and my route wasn’t open. I came back for the ball, and he made a perfect throw."
Perfect throws were few and far between in a game marred by heavy wind gusts.
Staley quarterback and MU commit Trent Hosick misfired on his first seven passes and finished 5 of 19 for 54 yards. After Hosick picked apart the Indians’ secondary en route to a 31-28 victory in week six, Fort Osage decided to apply more pressure to Hosick and his receivers.
"Coming off a loss to us earlier this year, you have to give them credit for coming back with a great game plan and beating us on our home field," Hosick said.
The two teams traded short field goals in the opening half, and Fort Osage kicker Hayden Baumgartner booted another to open the fourth quarter.
Steven McBee took care of the rest. He completed 11 of 17 passes for 152 yards, including 100 in the fourth quarter.
In the post-game huddle, Fort Osage coach Ryan Schartz acknowledged his team leader and asked him to lead a celebratory cheer.
Steven McBee’s voice broke as he tried to work his way through it. He later said his grandfather was on his mind.
"I know he wanted to see this game," Steven McBee said. "He would’ve love to see this."
Perhaps he did.