Osage has the tools to put up plenty of points on the scoreboard any given Friday night. If the Indians want to keep their home record unblemished this Friday night when Boonville comes to town, the defensive side of the ball may be the focal point this week for maintaining that perfection.

Osage has the tools to put up plenty of points on the scoreboard any given Friday night.

That much was clear in a game at Hallsville last week where the Indians put up 50 of them and 546 total yards of offense, but it was not enough as the defense gave up 78 in another road defeat. The road has not been very kind to Osage (2-3, 1-2 Tri-County Conference) so far this season as the team remains perfect at home, but winless away from it.

If the Indians want to keep their record unblemished on home turf this Friday night when Boonville (2-3, 0-3 TCC) comes to town, the defensive side of the ball may be the focal point this week for maintaining that perfection. The Pirates are coming off a 21-14 loss to California.

“We are glad to play in front of our home crowd. We are excited about being able to play another week knowing there are local schools that haven’t gotten a full schedule,” Osage coach Devin Johnson said. “Boonville is fast and athletic and we will need to be more consistent on both sides of the ball and eliminate turnovers and giving up big plays defensively.”

Osage is currently giving up 46.4 points per game and has not given up any less than 26 points in a game so far this season, which came in a win against Eldon on September 11.

Sophomore Eric Hood continues to lead the unit with 46 total tackles this season, averaging 9.2 tackles per game. Junior Keigan Vaughn (38 tackles) is averaging 7.6 tackles per contest, sophomore Konner Vaughn (35 tackles) is at 8.8 tackles per game and junior Shane Thomas has racked up 31 total tackles equating to 7.8 tackles per outing. Overall, the Indians have recorded 12 tackles for a loss as a team and just two sacks courtesy of senior Mason Clarke and sophomore Ashton Carter, which adds up to just 2.4 tackles happening in the backfield on average each week. The Indians have also forced five total turnovers with three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

Simply put, a little more disruption in the backfield and more pressure on the quarterback could make quite a difference and may even create a few more turnovers if the unit can find a way to get the job done.

Osage will take on a Boonville offense that is averaging 226.2 yards and 26.8 points per game. The Pirates got off to a solid 2-0 start but have faced three of the top teams in the Tri-County to start off the conference slate in Southern Boone, Blair Oaks and California. All three of those teams are currently 4-1 and the Pirates have not put up more than 14 points in any of those games the past three weeks.

Boonville has been fairly balanced offensively as sophomore quarterback Colby Caton is currently 37-70 for 595 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions (119 yards per game) while the team has totaled 536 rushing yards, averaging 107.2 yards per game. Senior Andrew Wiser currently leads the ground attack with 310 rushing yards (4.9 yards per carry) and six touchdowns. Caron has galloped for 121 yards and a score with his own legs and is the only other Pirate over the century mark so far in 2020.

Senior wideout Charlie Bronakowski has been Caton’s top target with six receptions for 172 yards and three touchdowns and Caton has spread the pigskin around fairly well. Junior Jamesian Mckee has logged 10 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown, junior Dawan Lomax is at four receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown and junior D.J. Wesolak has hauled in 10 catches for 108 yards.

Getting pressure on Caton and keeping him contained in the pocket will be key for Osage and if the defense can force the young quarterback into some bad decisions, it may cause some frustration for a fourth straight week as long as Wiser can also be slowed down on the ground.

The Indian offense may be able to take care of the rest, but the “Blackfoot” (offensive line) will have to be sharp this week against a Pirate defense that has been known to wreak some havoc. The current record may not indicate it, but Boonville’s defense is currently averaging 8.6 tackles for a loss per game with 43 total on the season and the unit has also racked up 14 sacks, allowing 22.8 points per contest.

Osage can be explosive, currently averaging 444.2 yards and 37 points per game, and will look to be that way again Friday night. Junior quarterback Brockton McLaughlin continues to lead the way as he has racked up 294.6 yards of offense combined with his arms and legs for 16 total touchdowns after five games. McLaughlin is currently 58-82 for 805 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions and he remains the team’s leading rusher on the ground with 668 yards and seven scores, averaging 11.9 yards per rush with three games where he has crossed the century mark.

Senior running back Kenan Webb has rushed for 295 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and senior Jack Creasy has totaled 283 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 8.3 yards per carry behind the “Blackfoot” as the third Indian who has reached triple digits on the ground so far this season.

Through the air, sophomore wideout Hunter Graber remains the top target with 21 receptions for 295 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Drew Elley is currently at 14 receptions for 196 yards and two scores, Keigan Vaughn is at 11 catches for 189 yards and three touchdowns and Webb has shown versatility out of the backfield with nine catches for 91 yards.

If Osage can continue to find some balance and see multiple contributors step up, as was the case last week at Hallsville, another high point total just may be the result. The Indians will be hoping this time that it is enough to ensure a victory.

Kickoff for this annual conference battle is slated for 7 p.m.

BRAGGING RIGHTS

Boonville won last season’s matchup on home turf, 35-14.

WHO’S HOT

McLaughlin has put up some big numbers just about every week, but last week showed the potential of this offense as a whole. Hood rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on just two carries and receivers like Elley and Vaughn had a big night combining for 13 receptions for 210 yards and five touchdowns. Find consistency each week and this offense can be downright scary.

WATCH OUT

Caton cannot be allowed to find some space or have the time to make progressions and find open targets amongst a balanced receiving corps. The Indians will also have to stop Wiser to keep the Pirates out of rhythm.