The Hornets lost a fumble on the second play of the game while the Indians scored a touchdown on their second offensive play and eventually went on to comfortably topple the visitors 42-27.

School of the Osage set the tone early Friday night in its first test of the season against Fulton.

The Hornets lost a fumble on the second play of the game while the Indians scored a touchdown on their second offensive play and eventually went on to comfortably topple the visitors 42-27.

“I thought tonight our guys did a good job of just being into every play. We preach every play a lot in our program,” Osage coach Devin Johnson said. “Every play is important and deserves our ultimate focus. It was apparent whenever we asked our guys on the sideline, ‘What were you doing or what were you seeing?” and they were into it.” 

Naturally, the first game of the season can always generate some excitement and Osage did not disappoint in front of the home crowd. The Indians found the end zone on three of their first four drives before the Hornets could find a way to respond.

After Fulton coughed up a fumble for the first of three turnovers on the evening, Osage wasted little time taking advantage as senior quarterback Dalton Depeé hit junior running back Matt Hans for a 40-yard touchdown pass to put the Indians up 6-0 early. Hans was more than happy to add to the excitement with a 6-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 12-0 before the end of the first quarter. 

“It was amazing. Packed crowd, band and everything, it just felt like a football game on a Friday night,” the junior said of the hometown atmosphere. “It felt real good.” 

Osage sophomore running back Kenan Webb kept the good vibes going midway through the second quarter on a 15-yard run up the middle to give the Indians an 18-0 cushion. Then, the Hornets finally crossed midfield and cut the deficit to 18-7 on a 7-yard run from senior tailback Taeon Logan with 6:31 remaining before halftime. However, it was the closest the visitors would get to erasing the deficit the rest of the way. 

The Indians responded with a methodical drive that soaked up the clock and culminated in a 14-yard quarterback keeper from Depeé to extend the advantage to 26-7 with 38.2 seconds left before halftime after he found junior running back Jack Dulle for a 2-point conversion pass. Johnson said that drive may have been the final blow for the visitors and the coach noted it all began with the “Blackfeet” up front among the offensive line.

“I thought physically up front, our guys played very well. We did a very good job of making sure every play was a positive play,” he remarked after a night where his club did not have to punt until the final drive in the fourth quarter. “The only negative plays we ran in the first half were penalties, which is huge. That means every play you run you are getting positive yardage.”

And that trend mainly continued in the second half. Even after a negative play, the Indians seemed to find a way to make up for it. When Hans took a solid pop from a Hornet defender and lost a fumble on the second play of the third quarter, Depeé had his back as a defensive back where he returned a 62-yard interception to the house on the ensuing play. A 2-point conversion run from Webb put the Indians up 34-7.

“I just figured that we needed to start off fast,” Depeé said after the two hooked up for the first score of the night. “I thought that was the perfect way to come back and I had to look out for my boy.”

Things did not get much better for Fulton as a botched snap on its next drive was recovered by Osage senior defensive lineman Mason Etter. Then, the Indians went on to deliver their final blow of the night with just under 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter on a 2-yard quarterback draw over the top of the pile at the goal line from junior Drew Edwards, who briefly replaced Depeé at the position. Depeé made it 42-7 when he found Edwards on the ensuing 2-point conversion pass as he switched back to tight end.

Fulton’s Logan reached the end zone two more times in the fourth quarter on runs of four and seven yards respectively while Latrellus Colbert also plowed ahead for a 4-yard score. However, the damage had already been done and Johnson was glad to his defense rise up to the occasion.

“Our defense has really adapted this ‘swarm’ mentality that we’ve been trying to preach and I’m proud of our guys for really getting behind that and understanding exactly what that means,” the coach pointed out. “They rally around each other and it is all about communication as well. You can hear our guys talking and making a lot of calls on the sideline.”

Johnson said his club is not at its best yet as there are still some things to clean up on both sides of the ball, but Osage (1-0) comes out of week one healthy and will have a chance to remain undefeated with a trip to Moberly next Friday at 7 p.m. The final offensive drive of the second half that wore down the Fulton defense is a prime example of what the coach wants the rest of the season to look like.

“For us this next week, it is going to be about that consistency every play,” he stated. “Just keep going and going and wait for something big to happen because eventually those three and four-yard gains turn into eight-yard gains or 18-yard gains so we just have to keep plugging away.”

Stats will be added to this story as soon as they become available