It took two days for the Truman High School football team to win its first game of the season.
Junior quarterback Aaron Lehman said it was well worth the wait Saturday afternoon after his 1-yard touchdown plunge accounted for the lone score of the fourth quarter in a dramatic 26-21 victory over the host Fort Osage Indians.
The game had been suspended at the end of the third quarter Friday night, with Fort Osage clinging to a 21-20 lead.
“We knew we could come back and get the win, we just had to work hard and not make any mistakes,” said Lehman, who picked up a key first-down on a fourth-and-one carry and then scored the decisive touchdown two plays later with just 24 seconds left. “We don’t have the biggest or best offensive line, but when we need the big yard or two, our guys always come through.”
Someone else who came through was safety Jacob Overbay, who sealed the win with an interception as time expired.
“Our coaches put me in the right place at the right time,” Overbay said. “Our defense was amazing today. We didn’t give them a chance to score and get back in the game.”
The Indians (0-2) had the ball for just one three-and-out series as Lehman drove the Patriots 65 yards and ran more than seven minutes off the clock to begin the final period. When the drive stalled, the Patriots punted inside the 5-yard line.
For a moment, it appeared Fort Osage quarterback Ty Baker was sacked for a safety, but he managed to get out of the end zone. However, the Indians could not get anything going offensively and had to punt.
Truman started the game-winning drive on the Fort Osage 35.
“Great play calling by our coaches,” Lehman said when asked about the frantic pace of the final three minutes. “We just kept running the ball and picking up big first downs.”
It was a different story Friday night as a 76-yard touchdown pass from Baker to junior standout Isaiah Iloilo with just 45 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Indians a 21-20 lead before lightning and heavy rain forced the game to be suspended until Saturday after a lengthy delay.
The Patriots had taken a 20-14 lead at 7:32 of the third period when Lehman scored on a 5-yard run and Dave Rivera ran in a two-point conversion. The score was set up by Zachary Graham’s 35-yard gain on a fake punt on fourth-and-six from the Truman 47.
The Indians, who lost many key players to graduation off last season’s Class 5 state championship team, must regroup and prepare for Friday’s game against high-scoring Lee’s Summit.
“We just have to cut out the mistakes,” first-year Indians coach Brock Bult said. “The three-and-out the one time we had the ball in the fourth quarter hurt and we couldn’t stop their running game. We’re going to be fine. We’re young and we have to use games like these as a learning experience.
“I know our kids are going to come back and work hard at practice this week.”
The Patriots host Noland Road rival William Chrisman 7 p.m. Friday in the first home game in Truman’s newly renovated and expanded stadium. The Patriots played one game at home last year, but the stadium was not completely finished.