BLHS ripped by Mill Valley, 27-0
On Basehor-Linwood's first play from scrimmage against Mill Valley, Nick Verbenec hit Jake Brown on a pass play across the middle for a 19-yard gain. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, that was about as good as things got on Friday, Sept. 28, as they were buried, 27-0 at Mill Valley.
"We got our butts kicked," coach Paul Brown said. "They (MVHS) did a great job of executing and they kept our defense on the field for most of the game."
The Bobcats ran a total of 16 plays in the first half and managed just one first down as they were turned away three-and-out on three of their six first half possessions. The other three possessions ended in two turnovers via fumble and one turnover on downs.
The first fumble came on BLHS's first possession. After Verbenec completed the 19-yard pass to Brown, the Bobcats moved across midfield thanks to two straight offsides penalties and it appeared that they were in business. On the next play, fullback Joey Barlow slammed past the line of scrimmage and into the secondary for a 12-yard gain, but a Mill Valley defender reached in and stripped Barlow of the ball stalling the drive.
"I think the story of the game in the first half was our fumbles," Brown said. "We had nothing going in the first half because they kept the ball and we fumbled it."
While the Bobcats were fumbling away their opportunities, the Jaguars were capitalizing on theirs. The Jags recovered Barlow's fumble on the 40-yard line and nine plays later they were in the end zone. Freshman tailback David Woods ran for 34 yards on the opening drive and his brother, senior Max Woods, ran for 13 including a three-yard touchdown.
Leading 7-0, Mill Valley then kicked off and as BLHS's Colby Reynolds was returned the kick, he was rocked by Mill Valley's John Goodin at the 25-yard line. Reynolds coughed up the ball, Mill Valley pounced on it and seven plays later, Max Woods again found himself in the end zone.
"Any time you go down two scores right away like that, it's hard for any team to come back from," Brown said.
Just before halftime, it appeared as if BLHS had caught a break when Barlow picked off a pass at midfield, returned it to the 40 and was drilled out of bounds. The hit drew a penalty flag for illegal helmet contact and the Bobcats took over at the Mill Valley 25-yard line. Three plays later the Bobcats turned the ball over on downs.
Brown said he was much more impressed with his team's effort in the second half, but fumbles again cost the Bobcats big. Mill Valley scored a touchdown on its opening drive of the second half and went up 27-0. From there, however, the Bobcats defense toughened up and Brown said that was a good sign for his team. The Bobcat offense got sharper as well, but again, they just couldn't crack the goal line. After taking over, down 27-0 at their own 26, the Bobcats moved the ball all the way down to the Mill Valley five-yard line. A methodical drive consisting mostly of runs by Barlow and senior Matt Dukes got the Bobcats to the doorstep, but the same old mistakes kept them out. On first and goal from the three, Verbenec turned to hand off, but lost the handle and Mill Valley recovered the BLHS fumble.
"We got down there twice," Brown said. "We couldn't get it in, though. You've got to be able to finish."
The loss dropped BLHS from the ranks of the unbeaten in the Kaw Valley League to 2-1 and lowered its overall record to 2-3. Despite the dismal performance, Brown said his team is still in position to do everything it wanted to at the beginning of the season. Now, however, he said it's time to step up and do it.
"We're within striking distance of every goal we had at the start of the season," Brown said. "But now it's time to decide are we going to make the effort and practice every day and step up and do the things we need to do? Tonight in the second half, I saw some signs of that happening much, much better we were making some plays."
The Bobcats will travel out of league at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, to take on Wamego on the road.