Basehor-Linwood ready to take first step
During the past couple seasons, the Basehor-Linwood High School football program has become known for playing tough competition right off the bat.
The 2002 season will be no different, as the Bobcats will travel to Paola Friday, Sept. 6, to take on a Paola High School team that finished the 2001 regular season 9-0.
BLHS coach Paul Brown said playing quality opponents early in the season gives his team a chance to see where it stands in terms of competition around the area. But rather than worrying too much about Paola, Brown and the Bobcats will focus on their own preparation for week one's game.
"Taking care of our own business is more important, especially during the first week," Brown said. "I think it's that way for any team. You do know a little about your opponent, but for the most part it's more important that you make sure your guys are in the right spots and that you execute your game plan."
Despite finishing the 2001 regular season undefeated, the Panthers tripped up in the first round of the playoffs. In the offseason, Paola graduated 23 seniors and Brown said it's difficult to tell what type of team the Panthers will have this season with so many new faces in the lineup.
Paola and BLHS exchanged game tapes in April and the BLHS staff attended one of Paola's Saturday scrimmages last week. Brown said his staff recognized a few things that will help them develop a game plan, but added that he'll look to the past for help as well.
"It's tough to evaluate their personnel because we haven't seen this group of kids in live action," Brown said. "So really what we'll do is look at historical schemes. They've had the same coach there for a few years and I expect them to do a lot of what they've done in the past."
In the past, the Panthers have been primarily an option team. Everything they do on offense is set up by the option and Brown said he expects Paola to run the ball 75 percent of the time.
The Paola offense is a lot like the Air Force Academy's and Brown said although the Bobcats haven't seen an offense like it in a while, he has seen it before and he does know how to stop it.
"The first thing you have to do is make sure the fullback doesn't beat you," Brown said. "If you can pressure the quarterback and make him pitch the ball, you can stretch their runs out to the sidelines and contain them that way."
Senior linebacker Jake Brown is the only injured Bobcat, but coach Brown said he expected him to be ready for the game. The rest of the team is healthy, with the exception of a few minor bumps and bruises.
Brown said his team is close to being ready to open the season, and that his major concern is that they come out focused.
"Right now I'm trying to make sure we have our focus," Brown said. "That we're ready to start a season and go into our adventure the way we need to."
The adventure begins at 7 p.m.