California dreamin’: BLHS hopes to end 5-year streak
Last season, the Basehor-Linwood High School football team lost its season opener to Bonner Springs, but still went on to win its league championship.
Friday, Aug. 31, after the Bobcats suffered the same fate in this year's season opener, losing 18-7, coach Paul Brown made sure he reminded his team of last year's turn of events.
"I reminded them of a year ago," Brown said. "We lost to Bonner Springs and came back and had a successful season."
After the loss, Brown said he and his experienced team were aware that this year's success did not hinge on the first game of the season. He did say, however, that the second week would be a very important game.
"We've got some big goals this season and we should have those goals," Brown said. "But the great thing is none of our goals were taken away from us tonight. We just have to refocus and bounce back in our next game."
Quarterback Nick Verbenec agreed with his coach and said it was great to start the season with two non-league games.
"It's nice to know that win or lose, it won't count for league and it won't count for state," Verbenec said.
The Bobcats' next game will be Friday, Sept. 7, when a powerhouse from California, Mo., comes to Basehor.
Brown and the Bobcats are familiar with California High School, as last season the Bobcats traveled to Missouri for the game and were beaten, 36-0.
Because Brown is familiar with CHS, he said he'd expect the same things he saw last year.
"They're a power football team, they run a lot of wishbone and they run some option, too," Brown said. "They don't do a lot of things, but what they do, they do well and we need to make sure we're fundamentally sound if we want to compete."
CHS comes in with an undefeated streak that dates back five years. In the past five seasons, CHS has not lost a single game in the regular season, but the Bobcats are looking to change that on Friday.
"One of our goals this week has been to end that streak," Verbenec said. "We have a real good team coming in Friday, and it'll be a great test for us mentally and physically. I think we'll really see where we stack up in this one."
Friday, Aug. 31, CHS got off to a great start in the 2001 season as it downed St. Francis Borgia, 35-0 in the opener.
Brown said in order for his team to slow down the quickness and size of CHS, the Bobcats would have to play fundamentally sound on both offense and defense.
"It's a lot of making sure you're in the right place and that you have everything covered and then just getting after it and hitting," Brown said. "When you play these types of programs, you learn how to play winning football. They're a similar program to us in that a few years ago they were small and didn't win very often, but now they're a powerhouse. So I think that's good for our kids to see, because that's the direction we want to head."
Brown also agreed with Verbenec and he said having California come in is the perfect thing for his team right now.
"I think it is better to play a tough team after an emotional loss," Brown said. "Because it makes you forget about the last one and focus on the one coming up."
Verbenec said the team is focused and that the week's practices have reflected that.
"Tuesday, we had a real good practice," Verbenec said. "The intensity was there, the focus was there and we'll be ready for California on Friday night."
Friday's game will begin a half an hour later than normal, at 7:30 p.m., and the Bobcats are hoping the game is a late beginning to a successful season.