How sweet it is
Bobcats batter Bonner Springs, 28-15
The Basehor-Linwood football team dominated on offense, defense and special teams for the first time this season on Friday.
And junior Mike Armstrong was right in the middle of all of it.
Armstrong started at quarterback for the first time this season and led the Bobcats to a 28-15 victory over arch-rival Bonner Springs, running the team's record to 2-4.
He ran for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns and also returned a punt for a score. At his usual defensive back position, Armstrong hauled in an interception and recovered a fumble.
The Bobcats offense had struggled of late, scoring just 12 points in the last three games. Though Armstrong may have spurred the scoring attack more than anyone else, he wasn't the only change on Friday. Peter Brown also started at running back for the first time, picking up 81 yards on 18 carries.
"We just decided we had to put more speed on the field," BLHS coach Paul Brown said. "It wasn't that the other kids were doing anything bad, they just aren't quite as quick. We're gonna try to keep that speed on the field and keep putting pressure on people."
While the new-look offense was slow to get going, the Bobcats defense played the dominant role it has grown accustomed to in the past few weeks.
The squad held Bonner's star running back Drew Hess to 72 yards on 18 carries. Though Hess broke a few good gains, seven of his runs went for one yard or less.
The Bobcats weren't shy about laying big hits on the hard-charging running back.
Defensive back Joey Brown left the game with a shoulder injury after a wicked sideline collision with Hess. But Brown's absence only opened the door for Armstrong to begin his heroics.
Pressed into action as Joey Brown's back-up on punt returns, Armstrong broke the 0-0 tie at the end of the first quarter as he took a punt at his own 26, faked out a defender on the left side, and then reversed his field and went all the way down the right sideline for the touchdown.
"After I juked that one guy I didn't even know I'd go that far. I just ran," Armstrong said. "I like doing it but I'm not really the greatest at catching punt returns."
Armstrong's touchdown only put the Bobcats in control for a few minutes. The Braves faked a reverse on the ensuing kickoff and the Bobcats over-pursued, giving Bonner's return man a clear path to the end zone.
The score remained 7-7 until the third quarter. Then, for the first time in three games, the Bobcats' offense really started rolling. They scored touchdowns on their next two possessions, one on a goal line dive by Armstrong and another on an option run by Tyler Dowdall.
Armstrong was just 1 of 3 for 16 yards passing on Friday, but by the second half, the Bobcats didn't need to air it out.
The three-headed rushing attack of Armstrong, Dowdall and Peter Brown was pounding through the Bonner defense behind lead blocker Brice Beshara and the senior-laden offensive line.
"We can take anything. We're just power-housing it right up," lineman Kris Johnson said. "We're dominating because we've been together for four years."
Down 21-7, Bonner Springs' quarterback Jordan Lamb tried to answer, completing 8 of 16 passes for 133 yards in the second half, and twice driving the Braves deep into Bobcat territory. But one drive ended when Lamb was sacked by Brian Creed and fumbled.
Bobcats' lineman Ryan Heffley picked up the ball and returned it to Bonner's 35, setting up setting up Basehor for a drive that would culminate in Armstrong's second touchdown run.
Again Lamb drove the Braves down the field and again the Basehor defense stepped up just in time, with Armstrong recovering a fumble on his own 10 yard line.
Lamb finally solved the Basehor defense on the Braves' last possession, as he found Matt Middleton for a 70-yard touchdown pass.
It was the first passing touchdown the Bobcats had given up since their second game of the season, against Perry-Lecompton. But by then, it was too little, too late for Bonner.
After the game the Bobcats had a swagger only a convincing victory over a big rival can bring.
"You just know after you cream them like that, you're coming back, you're a powerhouse," Johnson said.
Armstrong said he was committed to making Friday night's victory the beginning of bigger things for the Bobcats.
"I'm going to keep going and lead us as far as I can," Armstrong said. "I'm going to keep the intensity up and I'm going to lead this team."
The Bobcats next game is at Lansing at 7 p.m. tomorrow.