The Boonville Pirates football team did everything right up until the second quarter against the Osage Indians in a Tri-County Conference game at Gene Reagan field.
While leading the Indians 21-0 after the first 12 minutes and 28-0 early in the second quarter, the Pirates appeared to have the game well in hand, or at least one would have thought.
But it was anything but easy as the Indians rallied back with 14 unanswered points to cut the lead at the break 28-14. Meanwhile, after a scoreless third quarter, Boonville capitalized on a Osage turnover for a touchdown late in the fourth and never looked back for a 35-14 victory.
The Pirates improved to 4-1 on the season and 2-1 in the Tri-County Conference while Osage dropped to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in league play.
Boonville Pirates football coach Greg Hough said the kids came out and played well but then the humidity took its toll on a few players. “Once Tramell (Coleman) went down, Avian (Thomas) goes down and then Andrew (Wiser) goes down with a injury,” Hough said. “Everything was kind of in a scramble, but at the end of the day you rely on the group of kids that wins you ballgames from start to finish, and that’s your offensive line so kudos to those kids for stepping up and playing.”
Despite just scoring one defensive touchdown in the second half on a 45 yard fumble recovery by sophomore DJ Wesolak, the Pirates still managed to put up 313 yards in total offense and 10 first downs. The only problem is that Osage had one more first down in the ballgame and 55 more yards in total offense with 368.
Boonville senior linebacker Josh Polk said the team came into the game knowing that Osage was a second half team. “We were just kind of going for the money ball and just trying to put it away,” Polk said. “We were in coast mode really. We just need to work better in practice of putting the hammer down and quit relying on everybody else to do something. In the second half our goal was to pitch a shutout. I wasn’t in the locker room but I heard Coach Stevens challenged the players to put the throttle down and do what we are supposed to do. We made some adjustments with our defense and got it done.”
The Pirates were definitely getting it done early on while scoring three plays into the game on a 56-yard run by Thomas  with 10:28 left. And even though Osage intercepted Boonville on its second drive, the defense stepped up and held on fourth and nine at their own 38. Four plays later, Coleman busted one loose for a 42 yard run down to the Osage 14. Thomas then took it in on the very next play to extend the lead to 12-0.
The Pirates also scored on the two-point conversion attempt when Greyson Mesik recovered a fumble in the end zone to make it 14-0.
Boonville’s defense stepped up to the challenge again on Osage’s next series by forcing a punt. Meanwhile, after taking over at the Indians 46, senior quarterback Nick Ferrari and Coleman hooked up on a 38-yard pass down to the Osage 4 yard line. Then, on the very next play, junior Andrew Wiser scored to push the lead to 21-0 with 39 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The Pirates had a little bad luck go their way on their next drive after a 38-yard pass from Ferrari to Peyton Keeran was wiped away after a holding call. But on the sixth play of the drive and third after the penalty, Thomas hit paydirt for the third time in the game on a 29 yard run to make it 28-0.
What happened after that is anybodys guess as Osage came back with a 80-yard touchdown on a pass from senior Drew Edwards to senior running back James Hutchcraft to cut the lead to 28-7 with 8:02. Then, after Boonville fumbled on its next drive at midfield, the Indians hit paydirt again on a 13-yard pass from Edwards to senior receiver Logan Havner to make it 28-14.
Hough said he doesn’t know what happened after the Pirates went up 28-0. “We had a lot of the same play concepts and stuff like that,” Hough said. “It’s just execution. It’s easy to do when you get up and let off the accelerator a little bit, but we knew Osage was a second half team and they really kind of put it together there in the second quarter.”
Offensively, the Pirates still had pretty good numbers for a half with 251 yards of total offense compared to 173 for Osage. Thomas also finished the half with nine carries for 128 yards and three touchdowns.
But with no Coleman for pretty much the entire second half and Thomas limited due to cramping, the Pirates were pretty vanilla on offense. Luckily for Boonville, they were able to keep Osage out of the end zone in the third quarter despite a 14 play drive down to the Pirates 29. Then, after an eight play drive by Boonville, which resulted in a punt, the Indians had another long drive that was stopped by an interception by Polk at the 42.
Polk said he was just doing what coach tells him to get in his zone. “I noticed the ball coming at me,” Polk said. “I kind of robbed Peyton (Keeran) because he could have had a pick six but I was just in the right place at the right time doing my job.”
Osage was also in the right place after recovering a fumble two plays later at their own 44. But on the sixth play of the drive at the 45, Wesolak saw an opportunity and took it by scooping up a fumble and racing to the end zone for a touchdown to extend the lead to 35-14.
Wesolak said he thought he was going to get tripped up by the running back on the ground after scooping up the fumble.  “I saw him fumble and tried to take a chance of picking it up with one hand and just took it back,” Wesolak said. “I was just worried about somebody catching me from behind and then I was fine once I hit the end zone.”
Hough said that’s two weeks in a row that Boonville has scored on defense. “Huge play by DJ to make that play,” Hough said. “Overall I thought the kids played pretty good, but the heat took its toll. We are just battling through injuries, but at the end of the day to be able to win a ballgame is a positive and we’ll take it.”
Thomas finished the game with 17 carries for 150 yards and three touchdowns while Wiser had eight carries for 45 yards and one score and Coleman with six carries for 37 yards.
Ferrari completed 5 of 9 passes for 63 yards and one interception. Coleman was the leading receiver with two receptions for 39 yards. Peyton Keeran had one catch for 10 yards while Wiser had one for 7 yards.
On defense, Harper Stock had 15 total tackles and one tackle for a loss. Josh Polk finished the game with 12 tackles and one interception while Lane West added eight tackles and one tackle for a loss, Peyton Keeran also with eight tackles, Alan McCarter and Tramell Coleman each with five tackles, Nathan Platt and Colby Caton each with four tackles, DJ Wesolak three tackles and one fumble recovery, Avian Thomas with three tackles, Andrew Wiser and Greyson Mesik with two tackles each and Jamesian McKee, Spencer Steakley, DaWan Lomax, Dakota Rapp and Will Rehagen with one tackle apiece.
For Osage, Hutchcraft had 21 carries for 67 yards and two catches for 82 yards and one touchdown. Edwards, meanwhile, completed 11 of 29 passes for 171 yards with two touchdowns and one interceptions. Havner also had seven catches for 89 yards and one score.