William Chrisman football head coach Matthew Perry decided to switch things up in Friday’s game against crosstown rival Truman.
Bears senior running back/linebacker Christian Felix, who normally carries the ball between the tackles, focused on defense, switching between playing linebacker and defensive end. Bears running back Osi Nauer, who normally gets the ball on pitches and outside runs, was the one running between the tackles.
The change paid of for Chrisman as Felix notched a sack on defense and Nauer carried the ball 11 times for 133 yards and four touchdowns to help the Bears claim the Wagon Wheel Trophy for the third consecutive year in a 52-20 victory on Norman James Field at Independence All-School Stadium.
The Bears’ offense was firing on all cylinders, gashing Truman for 488 total yards. The normally laid-back Nauer was a big part of that, and he flashed a smile after talking to Perry about his performance.
“I kind of talked to him afterwards and he goes, ‘I got a little burst out there,’” said Perry, whose team improved to 2-3 overall, “and he kind of had a cheesy grin on his face. It was good to see.”
Wide receiver Tre’Vaughn Sisco lavished some praise on the sophomore running back.
“That kid is going to be a beast,” Sisco said of Nauer. “I was so proud of him today. I am excited to see what he’ll do in the future.”
Nauer, who scored on runs of 2, 6, 10 and 65 yards, gave all of the credit to his offensive line.
“I couldn’t have done it without my offensive line,” Nauer said. “They made big holes for me, and it was pretty easy with the offensive line because they were executing everything.”
Like Nauer, Sisco also had a big game as he did a little bit of everything for the Bears. He caught four passes for 110 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 79 yards on four carries and a TD.
“I wasn’t playing well the first couple of games and things finally clicked today,” Sisco said. “I knew this game was going to be a big one. I just felt good in warmups.”
Perry said this type of game from Sisco has been a long time coming.
“Tre finally played like he’s supposed to play,” Perry said. “He should make big plays for us all the time. He’s a big-play guy. He made some big plays today. He should do that every Friday night. He’s electric when he wants to be.”
And his big game was partly due to the play of quarterback Dawson Herl, who had one of the best games of his career. The senior signal caller complete 10 of 16 passes for 198 yards and a score, including a couple of deep passes of 52 and 45 yards to Sisco.
“He’s improved a lot since last year,” Nauer said of Herl. “I like how he’s getting more comfortable with the way he’s throwing.”
On defense, Felix led the way for a team that recovered two fumbles and got an interception.
“Coach Perry did a good job having me focus on defense because that’s where I am going to play in college,” said Felix, who also had an 18-yard rushing touchdown. “Osi carrying the load some and me carrying the load some, it really worked out.”
On the other side, Truman’s defense wasn’t as sharp, and that’s something head coach Charlie Pugh said his team needs to fix as it’s surrendered an average of 46.8 points per game.
“It was a tough game,” Pugh said. “We knew going in that we were missing a couple of people (because of injury). It’s all a part of the game. “Defensively, we’ve just got to get better. There’s not a lot of experience there. It’s Week 5 and luckily we have a few more games ahead of us to get better.”
There were some positives for Truman (0-5) on offense. After starting quarterback Carter Brown went down with an injury, Don Edmondson entered and led the team to 20 points. The senior completed 4 of 11 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. He got a lot of help from running back Andrew Owens, who rushed for 138 yards on 21 carries and two scores.
“Don said he would do whatever we needed for the team,” Pugh said. “He came in and gave us a spark.”