Bobcats turned back in opener
It has been said that the best defense is a good offense.
Basehor-Linwood could talk all about that philosophy after their season opener Sept. 6, at Paola . In a game that remained close during the first half, Paola took control of the game in the second half and won 22-7.
In the second half, Basehor-Linwood had only two possessions and ran seven plays ,including a fake punt late in the fourth quarter. The Bobcats did not convert a first down, gaining nine yards in the last 24 minutes.
Paola's offense was the reason for Basehor-Linwood's lack of offense.
"They (Paola) just ate up the clock and controlled the ball," Basehor Linwood head coach Paul Brown said.
Paola received the kickoff to start the second half, and their drive lasted most of the third quarter. Paola converted three third down plays and two fourth down plays including one fake punt during the drive.
Almost 10 minutes after the drive started, with 2:50 left on the clock, Paola scored.
After a three-and-out by Basehor-Linwood, Paola went on another time-consuming drive that resulted in another touchdown.
"They ran their option offense like it's supposed to be run. We needed to stop them on defense, and we didn't. That was the story of the game," Brown said.
The game did not begin well either for BLHS. The Bobcats started with the ball and moved near midfield but eventually stalled.
After BLHS punted, Paola moved the ball downfield on their opening drive. The quarterback kept the ball on the option and put Paola up 6-0 with 3:57 left in the first quarter. The point after was good pushing the lead to 7-0.
Momentum swung further to Paola's side on the ensuing kickoff. Michael Armstrong took the kickoff and made a nice return to near midfield, but a hit forced him to fumble. Paola recovered, and they started their second drive in Basehor-Linwood territory.
However, Paola did not benefit from the turnover as the Bobcat defense stopped Paola, and a bad snap on a field goal attempt resulted in a loss of downs.
The two teams traded punts to start the second quarter.
On BLHS's second possession of the quarter, the Bobcats produced their best offensive drive of the game with the help of a Paola penalty.
Short runs by Jeff Lackner and John Clouse started the drive. On a third and three, Paola stuffed Lackner for no gain forcing BLHS to punt.
Basehor-Linwood punted, but the refs counted twelve Paola players on the field. The penalty for having too many men on the field allowed Basehor-Linwood to retain possession.
With new life, the Bobcats started going backwards. A fumble in the backfield and a penalty resulted in a third and long. On third down, quarterback Adam Smith found Steve Brown streaking down the right sideline for a 35 yard gain to the six-yard line.
On the next play, Clouse ran the ball into the end zone, and with 3:19 left in the first half, the Bobcats tied the game, 7-7.
"I was happy with what we got done in the first half," Brown said. "We fought back, tied the game, and put ourselves in a position to win."
Paola took a 9-7 lead into halftime after they tackled Smith in the end zone for a safety with a minute left.
"We weren't worried about the safety," Brown said. "It didn't hurt us, because we were going to have to score to win anyway."
Two touchdowns and thirteen points later, Basehor-Linwood fell to Paola 22-7, but the Bobcats remained positive.
"We showed we can do what we want to in the first half," Brown said. "The defense was just on the field too long."
Senior lineman Ross McCoy knows BLHS has work to do.
"For the first game, we did pretty well," McCoy said. "We did some good things, and we need to improve some things. There is nothing big; we just need to fix the little things."
Clouse led the Bobcats in rushing with 22 yards. Smith was 2 for 6 through the air for 38 yards.
The Bobcats will play their home opener Friday, Sept. 13 against Perry-Lecompton.