Osage“>Fort Osage has lost only three games in the past two seasons. Staley has been responsible for two of the three. In the 2011 playoffs, Staley won a Class 5 quarterfinal game, 7-6, on its way to the state title. A year later, it put the lone blemish on the Indians’ record with a 31-28 victory. Fort Osage, 11-1, will travel to North Kansas City to face Staley in the Class 5 quarterfinals at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. As the leader of a defense that has posted seven shutouts in 12 games, Fort Osage senior linebacker Mamu Tauiautusa insists the Indians are optimistic entering Saturday. The Star this week goes Four Downs with Tauiautusa.
Q. 1. Can you define the key to this defense?
A. “Basically, what’s really helped is we’re all like a family. We have a special bond that’s made us closer. Everyone has bought into what’s going on here.”
Q. 2. What went wrong in the regular season matchup with Staley?
A. “A lot of things went wrong in terms of alignment. We had some injuries, so some younger guys had to step up. Alignment played a huge part in that loss. If we can get that fixed, it’s going to be a really exciting game, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Q. 3. What will it take to stop a dual-threat quarterback like Staley’s Trent Hosick?
A. “He’s a great athlete. You have to wrap up when you get your hands on him. You have to be in the right place at the right time, take away the seams and play off your teammates.”
Q. 4. Where does your defense rank among other good ones in the state?
A. “Personally, I think we have the best defense in the state. I don’t know what’s going on at other schools, or if they have a bond like this, but this is something special we have over here, and it’s a blessing to be a part of it.”
| Sam McDowell, email@example.com
By the Numbers
4 Consecutive seasons the Harrisonville football team has reached the state quarterfinals. The Wildcats will have the upper hand in terms of playoff experience when they play host to Platte County on Saturday with a trip to the Class 4 semifinals on the line. Both Harrisonville and Platte County enter the matchup on five-game winning streaks.
7.2 Points allowed per game by Olathe East during its current five-game win streak. On the heels of a 41-21 loss to Shawnee Mission East on Sept. 28, which is the most recent loss for coach Jeff Meyers’ squad, the Hawks, 6-4, have given up 36 points combined in wins against Olathe North, Blue Valley North, BV Northwest, SM South and its Kansas 6A state playoffs opener — a 17-7 win against SM East.
77 Days since an opponent held the Staley Falcons under 30 points. Lee’s Summit West shut out the Falcons in an opening-day matchup broadcast on an ESPN channel, but the Falcons have since found their groove behind quarterback Trent Hosick and running backs Kahluna and Faizol Bouchard. The three players combined for 291 rushing yards in Monday’s win against Park Hill South and will look for more of the same Saturday against Fort Osage.
230 Number of points Blue Valley West had put on the board in the last five weeks, an average of 46 per game. The Jaguars scored fewer than 41 points once in those five games, a stretch that started with a 41-36 win Oct. 4 against Bishop Miege. The Stags, 5-5, and Jags, 8-2, meet again at 7 p.m. tonight at Miege with a berth in the Kansas 5A semifinals at stake. Tod Palmer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Sam McDowell (email@example.com) of The Star contributed to this report.
Sam McDowell, <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>