Bobcats clipped in overtime, 8-6
For a second straight week, the defensive numbers were dominant: 244 total yards allowed, three turnovers forced, and a shutout at the end of regulation. Unfortunately for Basehor-Linwood, this week the defense couldn't provide any scoring.
After winning two weeks ago 2-0 behind a safety and a flawless defensive performance, the Bobcats fell 8-6 to Abilene in overtime after the two teams ended regulation in a 0-0 tie.
The Bobcats took control in overtime with a touchdown run by Peter Brown on their second play. But the extra point was blocked.
The Cowboys also ran the ball in from the 10 on their second play of overtime, setting up an all-important extra point. With the Bobcats going all-out up the middle for the block, the Cowboys executed a perfect fake and ran outside for an easy two points and the victory.
The defense's great performance only made the outcome more difficult for BLHS coach Paul Brown.
"I thought for the most part we did a really good job of stopping them," Brown said. "Obviously we didn't let them into the end zone."
Joey Brown led the defensive effort with two interceptions and a number of pass break-ups. The Bobcats' defensive backs held Abilene's quarterback to 4 of 25 passing for 78 yards and three interceptions.
"We just had to pull together, keep them from getting anything big and try and pick off anything we could," cornerback Robby Paterson said. "We almost had to carry the team because our offense wasn't really doing anything tonight."
Despite their inability to score, the offense was able to move the ball on the ground. Running backs Tyler Dowdall, Josh Ishmael and Peter Brown combined for 150 yards on 29 carries. But the passing game, which showed signs of improvement recently, took a step back against Abilene. Quarterback Adam Smith finished just 1 of 13 passing for 10 yards and an interception, often throwing to receivers that were blanketed by the Abilene defensive backs.
Turnovers and penalties, which have become familiar problems for the Bobcats this year, again reared up to keep the team off the scoreboard. Chris Prgomet lined up for a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter, but the Bobcats jumped before the snap for a 5-yard penalty. Prgomet's ensuing 43-yard attempt fell about five yards short, leaving the Bobcats to wonder how costly that penalty might have been.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter the Bobcats drove all the way to the Abilene 2 yard line, before another five yard penalty put them in a passing situation at the seven. There was no doubt about how costly that penalty turned out to be, after Smith's pass was intercepted at the goal line, nullifying the Bobcats' best scoring chance. Dowdall also lost two fumbles during the game, ending Bobcat drives in Abilene territory.
After the game Coach Brown was at a loss as to how he could stop his team from stopping itself.
"Every time we jump offsides in practice we do push-ups. In practice we don't fumble much, we work on the strip drills with backs. Today we just couldn't do it," Brown said.
Adding to the usual offensive issues, injuries gave the Bobcats a new obstacle to overcome. Dowdall, Mike Armstrong, Ryan Heffley and Kyle Speichinger all had to be helped off the field at different points in the game. Armstrong and Heffley returned to finish out the game at full strength.
Dowdall tried to return, but wasn't 100 percent and Peter Brown got the bulk of the carries down the stretch. Speichinger, Smith's favorite receiver, did not return and had to leave the field on crutches, compounding the offense's struggles.
"Anytime you take people out from the first team after you've worked with them all week, you obviously get thrown off a little," Heffley said.
Coach Brown said Heffley and Armstrong were fine and would definitely play next week. He wasn't certain about the status of Dowdall, whose knee was still sore after the game, or Speichinger, who needed ex-rays to determine the severity of his leg injury. Brown said his team couldn't use the injuries as excuses for the loss.
"It hurts because it's not the same group of guys side by side, but the other kids practice too so they're ready to play and I thought when they came in they did a good job," Brown said.
Basehor-Linwood may need solid contributions from those players again next week when they face rival Bonner Springs and try to get back on a winning track.
"We have to keep our heads up, we can't turn over and die," Heffley said. "We've got Bonner next week and if you can't get pumped up for that game you don't deserve to play."
The Bobcats take on Bonner Springs at home at 7 p.m. tomorrow.