Bobcats bust out, cream De Soto 49-27
In just four quarters of football the Basehor-Linwood Bobcats moved from the bottom of the high school football world to the top of their league.
BLHS, 1-2 on the year, won its Kaw Valley League opener against De Soto, 49-27, thanks in large part to a timely and productive ground game.
The Bobcats racked up 329 rushing yards against the Wildcats and were led by junior John Clouse's 114 yards on just 15 carries. Clouse, starting in place of the injured Matt Dukes, pumped out big run after big run and was also very patient at the line of scrimmage. BLHS coach Paul Brown was impressed by Clouse and pleased with the Bobcats running game.
"He did a real nice job," Brown said of Clouse. "He knows those guys (the offensive line) and he knows they're good, so he just makes sure he uses them and tonight he used them well."
In the opening moments of the game, after BLHS had stalled 3-and-out on its first drive, the Bobcats gave up a 39-yard touchdown to De Soto's Michael Allen on the Wildcats' first play. On BLHS's second possession, however, fullback Joey Barlow took the ball and ran straight up the gut.
"That's Joey," Brown said. "He always runs hard and he never stops."
Barlow set the tone on BLHS's first scoring drive, as he carried the ball six times for 36 yards, and capped it off with a 5-yard touchdown plunge. From there, Basehor-Linwood took the lead on Clouse's 19-yard scamper and quarterback Nick Verbenec tacked on a successful two-point conversion run, and it appeared that the Bobcats were in control.
After stopping De Soto on its first three plays of the next possession, the Bobcats forced the Wildcats to punt, but DHS coach Brad Scott elected to fake the punt and Luke Young scrambled for 22 yards and a Wildcat first down. Three plays later, Allen crossed the goal line and his two-point-conversion run tied the score at 15-15.
De Soto had snagged the momentum back, but less than two minutes later the Bobcats squashed that momentum and took control for good. Clouse capped a 6-play, 74-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run that put the Bobcats up 22-15, and on its next possession, Verbenec connected with wideout Colby Reynolds on a 15-yard touchdown strike with 28 seconds remaining in the half.
The Bobcats opened the second half with two quick touchdown strikes one on Verbenec's one-yard keeper and the other on a seven-yard reverse by Jake Brown and before De Soto could blink it saw a 15-15 tie turn into a 42-15 BLHS lead.
"We're capable of scoring and scoring a lot," Brown said.
Verbenec, who threw for a season-high 109 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, said that against De Soto, he thought the real Bobcats showed up for the first time this season.
"I think we saw glimpses of what this team can do," Verbenec said. "We still can do a lot better, but it felt good to put some points on the board and get a victory. It was a great win, we played well and I'm glad we won."
The Bobcats played extremely tough on both sides of the ball Friday night, something that might not quite be reflected in the rushing totals of Allen. Allen, just a junior, ran for 280 yards on 26 carries, but really was the entire Wildcat offense.
"That's about 200 too many," Brown said of Allen's total. "But he's a good back. Last year we caught him right before he got going and since then he's been great."
Atop the KVL standings at 1-0, Brown said his team was in a good spot and can now focus on the rest of its league opponents.
"Now we've got other great league opponents that we have to go and beat," Brown said. "We're on the right track. Now we just need to steer the car the right way."
BLHS will get its next chance to stay in gear at 7 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 21, when Santa Fe Trail comes to Basehor for another KVL game.
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