In all the success Fort Osage has enjoyed over the past seven seasons — winning at least seven games each year — one prize has still managed to elude the Indians.
A state championship.
They’ve been close. Fort Osage reached the Missouri Class 5 state championship game in 2009 and 2012 but lost each time. And last year’s team took an undefeated record into the playoffs before falling to Kearney in the quarterfinals.
“Our expectations seem like they go up every year, and we’ve been answering that most years,” Indians coach Ryan Schartz said. “I feel like we have the right kids to do something, and we have enough of them. I think in terms of talent, we’ve got a pretty good group this year.”
Fort Osage has added some new wrinkles to make its offense more versatile. Schartz is opting to keep those additions a secret, but the personnel who will steer that ship is well-known.
The Indians feel they are particularly loaded at the skill positions. Junior all-conference player Skylar Thompson is back for his second year at quarterback; senior Jesse McBee will make the move from slot receiver to tailback; and wide receivers Willie Penamon, Donte Dodson and Kevin Rush all saw significant playing time last season.
The defense figures to be stout once again — especially at the linebacker position. Josh and Jonah Tuimaseve were all-conference selections last season, and Jacob Jacobs and Andru Baxley have starred in camp, Schartz said.
“I love how we’re flying to the ball,” Schartz said. “I think those linebackers will be the strength of our defense. They’ve done a fantastic job all summer. We’ve got some good ones.”