5 Bobcats named to post season all-Kaw Valley League squad
Apparently the Bobcats football players weren't the only ones who thought they played better this year than their record indicated.
Though Basehor-Linwood finished the season 2-7, the team received seven mentions for All-League honors, which are voted on by the league's coaches.
The Bobcats' number of awards trailed only league superpowers Tonganoxie and Piper, who had 11 and 12, respectively.
"It shows that we have a really good team, just in most of the games one play would get us or little details would get us," senior lineman Ryan Heffley said. "We were 2-7 this year, but we lost five games by a combined 22 points."
Heffley was recognized for his work on both sides of the ball, garnering first team All-League status as a defensive lineman and second team status as an offensive lineman. Heffley said he was a little surprised to be rated higher on defense.
"This is the first year I've gotten to play defense a lot, so I'm just getting used to the position," he said. "I'd say I probably prefer offense. On defense I had a lot of success this year. I don't know what it was, I guess just making big plays at the right time."
One of Heffley's biggest plays was when he combined with defensive end Brian Creed to pressure the quarterback in the end zone against Santa Fe Trail. The play resulted in an intentional grounding penalty and a safety that ultimately gave the Bobcats a 2-0 victory, their first win in 13 games.
Heffley's fellow lineman Kris Johnson was also recognized on both offense and defense. He was named one of the league's top five offensive lineman and got an honorable mention for his work on the defensive line.
Basehor-Linwood coach Paul Brown said the awards were important because linemen sometimes don't get the recognition they deserve.
"Coaches know that you win and lose by your linemen," Brown said. "I think it was great that they were recognized by league coaches, the guys who watch the film."
Running back Tyler Dowdall joined Johnson and Heffley on the offensive awards sheet, getting an honorable mention honor in a league stacked with great backs like Mill Valley's David Woods and Piper's Shawnn Lampson.
Dowdall had a brilliant game in a losing effort against Perry-Lecompton early in the year, exploding for 175 yards. He finished the season with just under 900 yards on the ground.
Despite Dowdall's work, the BLHS offense had trouble putting the ball in the end zone for most of the season, often calling on junior punter Seth Lashbrook to pin opponents deep.
Lashbrook responded with a solid year that earned him second team all-league honors.
The field position advantage he provided was instrumental to the Bobcats' defensive dominance.
That defense, which at one point in the season went 11 straight regulation quarters without allowing a touchdown, got a total of three mentions. Besides Heffley and Johnson, linebacker Peter Brown also got an award, as he was named to the second team of all-league linebackers and defensive backs. Brown was one of the team's leading tacklers.
The three awards trailed other defenses like Tonganoxie, Piper and Bonner Springs, leading Heffley to think that some of his teammates might have been slighted.
"I was definitely surprised," Heffley said. "I figured we had the best defense in the league and I was really hoping that we'd get three or four guys on the first and second team. Our defensive ends, a few of our linebackers and our safeties, I thought they stepped up and played well this year. They were just as important as me and Kris and Pete were on defense."
Paul Brown agreed that some of the other defensive players might have been deserving, especially Creed and Michael Hancock, the defensive ends. But he said it was difficult to get a lot of players on the all-league list in a 10-team league, and added that the Bobcats' record might have hurt their chances.