Bobcats set sights on outright Kaw Valley League title
Two years ago, Basehor-Linwood walked into their final game of the season out of contention and looking to spoil things for Piper. The Bobcats upset the Pirates and ruined their chances to advance to state.
This year, Piper comes into Basehor in that same role, but the Bobcats are determined to prevent the same thing from happening to them.
"Two years ago they were in our position and we knocked them off," quarterback Nick Verbenec said. "We know it can happen so we just have to have a great week of practice and work hard to make sure that it doesn't."
Thanks to BLHS's 15-0 win over Tonganoxie last week, the Bobcats have already clinched the district championship. As for the Kaw Valley League title, the Bobcats are the only team with one loss in the KVL and if they win this week, they would clinch the KVL title outright. Last year they were co-champs and this year winning it outright has been a goal all season.
"It's very important to our kids," coach Paul Brown said. "If we win it, it would be the first time in school history that we've won the league title outright. The guys don't even like that co-champs banner we have hanging up from last year, so they want a new one to replace it."
Like a few of the teams the Bobcats have seen this year, the Pirates like to air it out. Brown said PHS throws the ball more than half the time and he thinks it would make them easier to defend.
"It's a tougher situation when you play a run team that occasionally passes than it is to play a team that throws the ball a lot," Brown said. "Knowing a team's going to throw makes it easier to cover them."
However, Brown said he's expecting just about anything from the Pirates this week.
"They're in a position where they're out of this thing entirely," Brown said. "And now they can be the spoiler. When a team's in that position, you pretty much have to be ready for anything."
The Pirates are a young team, playing under a first-year coach. Dick Tatro plays only three seniors on offense and three seniors on defense. Despite their youth, Brown said he's certain the Bobcats will be facing the best talent the Pirates have and he will prepare his team for that.
Fullback Joey Barlow said the team has gotten Brown's message and because there is so much at stake, there's no way they would overlook the Pirates.
"We have to come out and play our best game of the year," Barlow said. "We've gotta take them seriously and take care of business. If we do that, we'll be in great shape."
The regular season finale will be played a day earlier than normal, but Brown said he didn't think playing on Thursday would affect his team because the objective remains the same.
"It has a minor impact on the game," Brown said of playing a day earlier. "But it's the same for all of the 4A schools. We're just going to prepare like we always do and if things go well and we play hard, dreams do come true."
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 25, at Basehor-Linwood High School. Win or lose, the Bobcats will play next Tuesday in a Bi-District game at either Bishop Ward or Eudora.