The Tigers got contributions from a number of different players whether it was senior quarterback Coby Williams throwing a touchdown pass to three different receivers or the defense stepping up in key situations to bring Osage's momentum to a halt.

Versailles junior Michael Bell had himself quite a night. 

His touchdown reception and interception return for a touchdown were part of a 34-13 Homecoming win over Lake area neighbor Osage on Friday. Nice attributes any player would be happy to claim, but the senior immediately mentioned his teammates when he could have easily taken some credit.

“It was not just me making the play, I thought it was all of us,” Bell said. “I would not have made most of the plays if it was not for my team. Quinn (Randall) had a lead block and I would not have went to the end zone without him.”  

The junior was specifically talking about the interception return in that instance but he just may be onto something because the Tigers got contributions from a number of different players. Whether it was senior quarterback Coby Williams throwing a touchdown pass to three different receivers or the defense stepping up in key situations, it brought any momentum Osage had to a halt. 

“We got guys sick and hurt and it was a great team win,” Versailles coach Broc Silvers said. “A lot of kids contributed to that game. We had a lot of kids make plays that are not your quote unquote star guys you expect it from.”

The night looked like it might be poised for a shootout as both sides took no more than about three minutes to find the end zone on their opening drives. Versailles senior Dallas Waller ran in a 7-yard score for the game’s first touchdown of the evening and Osage senior receiver Logan Havner responded with a 19-yard touchdown catch from sophomore quarterback Braden McLaughlin. 

The chess match continued early into the second quarter as Williams scrambled in for a 4-yard score to regain the lead for Versailles and Osage senior running back James Hutchcraft bulldozed ahead for a 2-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-goal to make it 14-13. There was just under a minute remaining before halftime after Hutchcraft’s score and Versailles decided it was not content with the narrow lead. Williams launched a 48-yard throw to Bell and followed it up with a 6-yard touchdown pass to the junior receiver in the span of 40 seconds to put the Tigers up 20-13 with some extra momentum. 

‘We stayed with it and that is something we’ve repped this week,” Silvers said of the deep throws. “It was a great read by Coby and a good throw. Bell has had some issues with drops and tonight he didn’t. That was one heck of a catch and when he catches with his hands he is as good as any receiver we have.”

Silvers noted that with Osage’s commitment to keeping everything contained around the line of scrimmage, it was a good time to let the pigskin fly.

“We liked what we had in the passing game. They took us out of our rollout game which is most of our time, but that allowed us to go deep ball because they had to commit so many guys to the edges that we had the deep ball in the middle,” he said. 

After a scoreless third quarter, Versailles found another answer as Williams found his third different receiver in the end zone and darted an 18-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Brayden Morrision to extend the lead to 27-13. If Osage was going to keep the senior in the pocket, Williams made sure to respond with his arm.

“I thought we actually played it really well in the run game. That is the thing he’s been doing, running the ball really well this year,” Osage coach Devin Johnson said of Williams. “Waller and a couple of others- it is a tough matchup with them because we don’t have the height and speed in the secondary those guys have… I was proud of our guys up front that contained and kept Coby in the pocket, which is what we wanted to do. He just has a way to extend plays and the guys did a good job of finding open windows to throw the ball to.”

This, after Osage moved the ball to the Versailles 14-yard line early in the fourth quarter before a fumbled option pitch on 4th-and-2 prevented the Indians from potentially tying the game. Add Bell’s interception return on the ensuing drive that created the final margin.

“That was a good play because we knew ’15’ was their guy. He is leading them in receptions by a long shot,” Silvers said of Havner on Bell’s interception. 

“It is great when a kid worked hard and gets his opportunity. When you get a chance and get a big touchdown return like that, that his huge for the confidence for him going forward.” 

 It was just that kind of night for Osage as turnovers or Versailles stops on fourth down halted six Indian drives that reached Tiger territory.

“That is what it took to win a ballgame,” Silvers said after his team earned its first victory of the season. “We just have not been able to come up with those big plays… The defense stepped up tonight and played the best game they had.” 

Hutchcraft was stopped for no gain in the first quarter by Versailles senior linebacker Gage Tessier on a 4th-and-short at the 50, a deep pass to Havner was picked off by Morrison at his own 5-yard line after the Indians reached the Versailles 44, another drive stalled near midfield for a turnover on downs on the opening possession of the second half and the final possession of the night resulted in a fumble on the Tiger 19-yard line. 

“We just have to finish plays and series. We moved the ball well offensively,” Osage coach Devin Johnson said. “Critical turnovers at the wrong time and a couple of miscues here and there. It weighs on you and it takes two or three to finish a game.

“It was just us not doing what we have to do to win a game.”

Osage senior quarterback Drew Edwards completed four of nine passes for 29 yards and two interceptions while sophomore Braden McLaughlin was 1-4 for 19 yards and a touchdown. Hutchcraft put up 106 rushing yards and a score, Edwards added 76 rushing yards and senior running back Matt Hans put up 51 yards of his own with the team finishing with 264 rushing yards total for the night.

Osage (2-5, 1-4 Tri-County Conference) will look to get things quickly corrected with the top-ranked Class 3 team in the state coming to town next week. The Indians will host unbeaten Blair Oaks Friday night at 7 p.m. 

“Same way we always do. We’ll watch film Sunday and we’ll have our weekly preparation and structure we’ll stick to and continue to improve,” Johnson said. 

As for Blair Oaks?

“They are really good,” Johnson simply put it in reference to the defending Class 2 state champions. 

Williams was 13-18 for 223 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another team-leading 75 yards on the ground. Senior tailback Jordan King added 14 rushing yards, Waller contributed 10 catches for 152 yards and a score, Bell hauled in two receptions for 53 yards and a score and Morrison finished with the one 18-yard catch that led to a touchdown.

Versailles (1-6, 1-4 Tri-County Conference) will host another Lake area battle next week when Eldon comes to town Friday night at 7 p.m. The Tigers are glad to get that first win under the belt, but Silvers said whether the team was winless or unbeaten the focus was always going to remain on week 10 when the playoffs begin. 

“We hopefully get healthy, get some more guys back and get some sickness out of here with cold season. Kids have been working hard,” the coach noted. “It is hard to take a kid and make him believe that when you re 0-6 you are better than you are. We knew we had the opportunity and potential and had just not been realizing it yet. We had not put a whole game together and I still believe in our kids we have here and the work we’ve done. 

“We finally got on the right side of it and we could have easily been 3-3 right now going into this game. Our record is what it is and nothing we can do about it, but we’ll try to go 1-0 next week.” 

This story will be updated with stats as soon as they become available