WEEK 5 PREVIEWS: School of the Osage looking to correct course in trip to Hallsville
It simply was not Osage’s night last week at California.
Multiple trips to the red zone that resulted in no points and six total turnovers led to a 43-13 defeat for the Indians and it was just a week the team would rather quickly put in the past.
“It is crazy to think we scored 13 points and punted zero times,” Osage coach Devin Johnson said after the game. “It was one of those nights where you almost just kind of have to move on… Obviously we did not do enough to win the game, but it is disappointing when you did not even put yourself in a position to be competitive because of the lack of execution.”
Well, Osage will now have a chance to correct course and sharpen things up with another road trip to Hallsville Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
It has been somewhat of a roller coaster for the Indians so far in 2020. At times, Osage (2-2, 1-1 Tri-County Conference) has looked like a machine scoring no less than 41 points in either of its two wins. In the other two weeks, both being away from home, the narrative has been quite different. The Indians are currently averaging 33.8 points per game, giving up 38.5 and after Friday night the team is currently -5 in the turnover department.
Time will soon tell which direction the team chooses for the long run and Johnson did not intend to waste any time getting an indication of that direction in practice this week.
“We just want to see our guys react to coaching. We are going to coach them hardened put them in pressurized situations like they are in Friday nights,” the coach said, immediately following the California game. “We are supposed to replicate Friday nights in practice and I want to see the guys react and see their body language. I want to see how they hold themselves, how they react to adversity and play the next play.
“There are going to be tough times in life and things are going to be hard. Either you stick your chest out and face it and hit it head on or you cower away from it,” the coach continued. “They are going to have to react to adversity in life and we want to teach them to be great people.”
Whatever direction the team chooses, the good news is that there has certainly been consistent flashes of the team’s potential. Osage had no problem moving the ball offensively last week, it was just a matter of finishing drives as the team racked up 381 total yards of offense.
Osage’s ability to move the football continues to start with junior quarterback Brockton McLaughlin who is currently 38-53 on the season for 494 passing yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. He remains the team’s leading rusher with 595 yards (12.9 yards per carry) and six more scores on the ground.
Senior running back Jack Creasy has been a consistent presence in the rushing game with 267 yards (9.5 yards per carry) with a touchdown while fellow senior back Kenan Webb is at 246 rushing yards (6 yards per carry) and a touchdown. Sophomore receiver Hunter Graber is the team’s leading receiver with 15 catches for 217 yards and four touchdowns and junior Keigan Vaughn has six catches for 95 yards. Webb has shown some versatility with nine catches for 91 yards and senior wideout Drew Elley, who has appeared in three games, is at six receptions for 80 yards.
Osage will be facing a Hallsville team (2-2) that also has mixed results and will be making its conference debut after games scheduled against Eldon and Versailles were cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. Hallsville is coming off a 46-0 shutout win over Putnam County, its second shutout win of the season, and is currently averaging 35.8 points per contest and giving up 21.3. Hallsville junior quarterback Tyger Cobb is certainly one man the Indians will have to account for as he has put together a few nice highlights in 2020 and Johnson never expects any encounter on Friday nights to be easy.
“They had a good senior class last year and a historic season over there last year,” the coach said of a team that finished 10-3 in 2019. “They are still a very good football team and it does not get any easier in this conference. I mean, every week is tough.”
Hallsville won last season’s game at Osage, 47-0.
It may have been a tough night in general, but Creasy and Graber certainly had a knack for moving the chains quickly at California last week with some big runs and catches. Creasy averaged 9.1 yards per carry with 73 total rushing yards and Graber caught seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Cobb has the ability to be a dual-threat quarterback for Hallsville as has been seen in some previous games. Receiver AJ Austene’s name has appeared in the highlights as well, having found the end zone on more than one occasion.