Versailles, Mo. - The Osage Indians have bounced back from a 0-2 start, picking up two consecutive wins with a win over Southern Boone, followed by a 57-0 shutout on the road against Versailles on Friday night.
A tough night for the Tigers, already without starting tight end Evan Lewis, found themselves playing without starting running back Johnathan Cunningham after just three plays.
Offensively, the Indians owned the field, as the Tigers' defense couldn't stop the passing game of the Indians, which tallied up
Through the first quarter, the Tigers and Indians both proved unable to score, until the Indians managed to score with 35 seconds left in the quarter on a four-yard run by QB Austin Riley.
With that score, the floodgates were unleashed, with Osage scoring another 50 unanswered points to pick up the second win of the season.
Osage's second score would come after Collin Samuelson picked off Versailles' QB Michael Allen, which he returned to the red zone. Riley would float one up for Samuelson to take a 14-0 lead over the Tigers.
Minutes later, the Tigers wouldn't catch a break, as a bad snap on a punt would roll into the end zone, where the Tigers' punter would knock it out the back end to avoid an Osage touchdown, opting for the two-point safety instead.
Less than five minutes later, the Indians' defense had forced a punt, which led to another Riley rushing touchdown with 3:40 left on the clock. Riley would manage to lead the Indians to one more visit to the end zone before the half, finding Dylan Jeffries with an 11-yard touchdown pass, leading 29-0 at the half.
The Indians' onslaught continued in the second half, with Versailles struggling to slow the Indians' roll down the field. A 41-yard pass from Riley to Samuelson increased the Indians' lead to 36-0.
Two minutes later, Justin Heiser recovered a fumble and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown.
Versailles' woes continued on in through the third quarter, as a tipped kickoff was recovered by Osage. Riley would find Jake Ulmer on a 17-yard pass for a 50-0 lead over the Tigers.
With both teams' second string players taking the field, only one more score would occur in the game, as Dylan Riley would lead his team to the end zone one final time on 3-yard run, and the Indians would hold the shutout to win 57-0.
"It feels good right now," Coach Dan Henderson said after the shut out. "Our kids came out and executed both offensively and defensively, and continued to take care of the football. We had some takeaways and it snowballed."
The Indians' squad simply dominated on all aspects of the field, forcing turnovers and offensively dominating the Tigers through the air and on the ground.
Page 2 of 2 - "There's still a lot of things we have to work and get better at. There's no question about that," Coach Henderson said. "But I'm pleased and happy for our kids. Our kids are showing resiliency."
The Versailles Tigers will look to find their identity still, and the young squad is still looking for answers. The team still looks to remain positive, though this loss is the biggest one they have taken.
"We didn't play very well, we didn't execute," Coach Broc Silvers said. "We were just sloppy, and Osage is a pretty good team. We just didn't make plays. We're just not getting the job done.
Coach Silvers has been there before, though, trying to rebuild.
"I've been through that before, and I think it gives me some insight of what to expect," Coach Silvers said. "We're doing everything the right way, we're just not getting results."
The Tigers will have to get some players healthy again, as they had six starters who were unable to practice prior to Friday night's game, so Silvers knows this is something they will have to battle with for the remainder of the season.
The thing the coaching staff will look for in these games is to see who has character, who wants to play and who are kids they can build with.
Osage now prepares to take on Tri-County rival Blair Oaks next Friday, while Versailles will look to upset Eldon for a homecoming win for the Tigers.