Kaw Valley heartbreaker
Late Perry-Lecompton touchdown buries Basehor-Linwood, 22-19
If a freak accident would've disabled the scoreboard during last Friday's football game between Basehor-Linwood and Perry-Lecompton, the casual fan probably would have figured the Bobcats were winning for most of the game.
The Bobcats offensive line blew Perry-Lecompton off the ball time and again, and it looked as though running back Tyler Dowdall could pick up 10 yards anytime he wanted to.
"We moved the ball well, running the ball up and down the field," BLHS coach Paul Brown said. "I thought on both sides of the ball our line play was much, much better."
The Bobcats defense came up big too, stopping running plays in the backfield and holding strong on several fourth downs.
Yet, after some costly penalties, turnovers and a frantic last four minutes, the still-functioning scoreboard read Perry-Lecompton 22, Basehor-Linwood 19.
Though it seemed like Basehor-Linwood was dominating the line of scrimmage, it was PLHS that actually led most of the game.
The Bobcats had a short-lived lead after quarterback Adam Smith scrambled 12 yards on the first play of the second quarter for the team's first touchdown of the year. After Seth Lashbrook added the extra point, the Bobcats were up 7-0, but it didn't last.
Perry-Lecompton answered with a touchdown of its own and added a two-point conversion, to take an 8-7 lead into halftime. The Kaws added another touchdown on the first possession of the second half, but missed the ensuing two-point try.
The score remained 14-7 in favor of PLHS for most of the rest of the game, even though Perry-Lecompton had no answer for Dowdall, who finished with 175 yards on 20 carries. Dowdall gave credit for the big day to his offensive line.
"It was the guys up front, they were really doing their job," Dowdall said. "That's the key for any running back."
Turnovers negated much of the Bobcats' success running the ball, though.
A fumble by Dowdall and a Smith pass that was tipped and intercepted killed Bobcat drives.
Meanwhile, Perry-Lecompton's offense, while struggling to convert on fourth down, ran a lot of time off the clock and gave the Bobcats poor field position.
The momentum seemed to swing late in the fourth quarter though, when Dowdall finally broke a 40-yard run all the way to the PLHS 8-yard line. Three plays later, junior Josh Ishmael ran the ball in from the one for what looked like the game-tying score. And so began the roller-coaster ride that was the game's last four minutes.
Lashbrook's extra point try sailed just wide, leaving BLHS still trailing 14-13, and whipping the Perry-Lecompton crowd into a frenzy.
On its next possession PLHS tried two running plays that were both stuffed for losses by the Bobcat defense.
On third down, PLHS quarterback David Foltz tried to throw a pass into the flat on the right side, but Bobcats' linebacker Peter Brown read the play perfectly. Shedding a blocker, he raced in front of the receiver, intercepting the ball in stride and racing 50 yards for the touchdown.
"Pete just read the movement of the guy he was covering, it was a nice play by him," coach Brown said.
In a flash Basehor-Linwood had taken a 19-14 lead with just more than two minutes to play.
The PLHS fans were shocked into silence, and it was the visiting fans' turn to roar.
Unfortunately for them, though, the game was far from over. The Bobcats were stuffed on the two-point conversion try and had to give the ball up to a Perry-Lecompton kick-return team that had been reeling off big gains all night.
This kick was no exception, as the PLHS return man brought it all the way to his own 45-yard line.
A facemask penalty tacked on another 15 yards and the Bobcats' defense was suddenly backed up in its own end.
An 11-yard completion by Foltz and an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Bobcats brought PLHS all the way to the 15 yard-line, where Foltz promptly connected with senior Mitch McPherson in the corner of the end zone for the game winner. PLHS converted the two-point try, and when the dust settled they'd gone 60 yards in just 30 seconds to take a 22-19 lead.
The Bobcats' last chance died when Smith was pressured heavily on the next possession and threw a desperation pass that was intercepted and run back to the Basehor-Linwood 20-yard line.
Coach Brown said his team learned an important lesson in the heart-breaking loss.
"This is a great example for them to learn that every play in the game is important," Brown said. "Never let up because that may be the big play of the game."
Basehor-Linwood's next game is at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19 at Mill Valley, the defending Kaw Valley League champions.