Bobcats close in on district crown
Win and youre in.
Thats all the Basehor-Linwood High School football team needs to do tonight (Thursday) at Piper to advance to the state playoffs for the first time since 1995.
There are situations that could get the Bobcats to the playoffs if they lose, but they dont want to think about that.
The kids dont want to know about the playoff scenarios, they just want to beat Piper. Its a big game for us, said B-L head coach Paul Brown.
(More on the playoffs on page B-3)
Last Friday night, Basehor-Linwood scored three touchdowns in the first half then had to hold on for victory in its 21-13 win at Tonganoxie.
I thought we played a really good game, Brown said. We came out and basically controlled the line of scrimmage. We were knocking them off the ball pretty good and took a couple of nice drives down the field.
The Bobcats went 52 yards in eight plays for their first score, a five-yard run from Joey Barlow halfway through the opening quarter. Barlow also had the key play in the drive, catching a pass from quarterback Nick Verbenec for a 19-yard gain on a third-and-seven play from the B-L 33-yard line.
Moments into the second quarter, Verbenec hooked up with Jackie Kimlin for a 10-yard touchdown toss, capping a five-play, 60-yard drive. Running back Matt Dukes gained 38 yards on three carries during the drive.
It appeared Basehor-Linwood would go into the intermission with a 14-0 lead, but the Bobcats Quentin Holmes popped a Tonganoxie running back for a three-yard loss and caused the ball to come loose. B-Ls Jake Davis pounced on the pigskin, giving the Bobcats the ball at the Chieftain 20-yard line with about 10 seconds left in the half.
Basehor-Linwood took advantage of the turnover one play later as Verbenec and Kimlin hooked up again for another touchdown. After Luke Hill booted his third extra point of the night, the Bobcats went into the locker room with a 21-0 advantage.
That was a good way to leave the field, being up 21-0, Brown said.
Brown, though, reminded his team that the game was far from over.
I think our kids thought the game would be like the Lansing game (where the Bobcats had a 28-6 lead at the half). I told them that it wasnt over and that we needed to learn how to finish a team off because Tonganoxie is a good team.
After an uneventful third quarter, the Chieftains stormed back in the final 12 minutes. Tonganoxie scored on a 13-yard pass play in the first three minutes of the quarter, then scored on a two-yard run with 5:15 left to close the gap to 21-13.
Tonganoxie came out in the second half and played hard. They had better field position and that allowed them to get a couple of scores, Brown said.
After forcing the Bobcats to punt with about 2:30 left in the game, the Chieftains took over at their own 26 and drove quickly downfield. Tonganoxie got as close as the B-L five-yard line, but Matt Dukes stepped in front of two Chieftain receivers on a pass play near the goal line and came up with his third interception of the game to seal the victory.
Besides his defensive play, Dukes carried the ball 22 times for 114 yards. Mike Peerson paced Basehor-Linwoods defense with 14 tackles.