OSAGE BEACH — The School of the Osage Indians proved to be good mudders last week.
That ability won't be needed tonight, when they play on the synthetic turf in their home opener.
School of the Osage will be trying to make it back-to-back wins to open 2019 when they entertain Moberly in a non-conference contest tonight. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Last week at Fulton two inches of rain fell on the grass field earlier in the day and the result was a muddy mess, in which the Indians survived with a 14-6 victory against the Fulton Hornets.
The Moberly Spartans also began with a victory, outscoring larger school Sedalia Smith-Cotton 35-28.
Moberly is a Class 3 school while Smith-Cotton is in Class 5.
Mistakes by Fulton helped set Osage up with short fields on both of the Indian scoring drives last week.
"It was so ugly it was beautiful," said Osage head coach Devin Johnson. "It was just one of those games."
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In the second quarter, the Hornets had a 41-yard touchdown pass called back due to a penalty, was forced to punt and a bad snap put Osage at the Fulton 37 yard line. Five straight running plays produced the score, with the TD coming on an 11-yard touchdown run by senior running back James Hutchcraft.
Fulton would score late in the second quarter on a 30-yard TD pass, and the game was tied at 6 at halftime.
Another fumble on a Fulton punt attempt early in the fourth quarter gave the Indians the ball at the Hornet 22 yard line. Three plays later Osage senior quarterback Drew Edwards scored on a one-yard keeper. Edwards hit senior running back Jack Dulle with a two-point conversion pass to make up the final score.
A sustained drive later in the period by Osage kept the ball out of the Hornets' hands to assure the victory.
"It was a unique situation," Johnson said. "It was a grass field and it was tough for anyone to get traction. And with 7:30 left we were able to run out the clock and not give the ball back.
"We simplified everything offensively and defensively. The field conditions eliminated a lot of the plays. Defensively we held them under 150 yards of total offense. Offensively, we did just enough."
In its opener, Moberly, playing on its brand-new synthetic turf, got off to a torrid start, scoring 21 unanswered points on its way to a 35-14 halftime lead.
However, the Spartans had to hold on the rest of the way, as several their starters went down with injuries or cramps. As a result, the Smith-Cotton Tigers shut them down after intermission and closed to within a touchdown.
With Sedalia at the Moberly 35 yard line on fourth down inside the final minute of the game, the Spartan defense brought the Tiger quarterback down short of the first down, clinching the victory.
Leading the charge for Moberly was junior running back/place-kicker Ethan Vandall, who scored four TDs on runs of 21 and 14 yards and receptions of 17 and 10 yards while also kicking five extra-point kicks. He finished with 53 rushing yards on eight carries.
Also for Moberly, junior running back Jarrett Kinder rushed for 128 yards on 11 carries and scored the team's other TD on a two-yard run while junior quarterback Dominic Stoneking ran for 55 yards on 11 attempts and hit on 5-of-7 passes for 64 yards.
Stoneking left the game with an apparent calf injury late in the third period and was replaced by sophomore Dakotah Courtney at QB. It's uncertain if Stoneking will return for tonight's game.
Defensively, Moberly limited Sedalia to just 25 rushing yards in the first half. However, the Tigers had much of their second-half success through the air.
Senior cornerback Clayton Briscoe and Stoneking each had interceptions for the Spartans.
Sedalia ended up throwing for more than 250 yards on the Moberly defense.
During last year's Week 2 game, Moberly shut out Osage 34-0.
"They're different this year," Johnson said of Moberly. "They graduated a lot of seniors. They still have a nice running game out of a pistol offense and have got guys who fly to the football defensively. They blitz from just about everywhere.
"(Stoneking) and (Kinder) are really dynamic players. (Kinder) is a tough back and had some nice, physical runs in the game. (Stoneking) is basically a third running back. And he does a good job on boots and play-action. The good thing about him is he is able to get the ball off in a lot of duress."
The blitzing ability of the Spartan defense is a concern to Johnson.
"They went from a 4-4 (formation) last year to a 3-4 this year," he said. "Their defensive linemen are big and eat up a lot of blockers. But the defensive backs and linebackers are just fast. They blitz four or five guys from different places."
The Indians rushed for 182 yards against Fulton, led by Hutchcraft with 104 yards and Dulle with 53.
Edwards attempted just four passes, completing one for 16 yards.
Hutchcraft, at linebacker, also made a team-leading nine tackles while senior lineman Matt McCubbin had six, including two for loss and a sack.