Bobcats mauled by Mill Valley
After early lead, Bobcats fall to defending league champs, 34-6
For the second straight week the Basehor-Linwood football team jumped out to an early lead only to leave the field with a loss.
But last week's loss had none of the drama of the frantic four minutes that closed out the Bobcats' 22-19 loss to Perry-Lecompton the week before.
The Bobcats' early touchdown last week was little more than a wake-up call for their powerful opponent, Mill Valley, who went on to win 34-6.
Things started out poorly for the Bobcats even before the game began, as running back Tyler Dowdall collided with a teammate in the pre-game warm-up and suffered a deep thigh bruise. Dowdall, who ran for 175 yards against Perry-Lecompton, played the whole game but was limited to only 11 carries for 59 yards.
Dowdall played a big role in the Bobcats' lone touchdown drive, which came on their second possession. He ran seven times for 50 yards as the Bobcats reeled off a 13-play drive that went 75 yards. Quarterback Adam Smith finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown dive. It was Smith's second straight week with a rushing touchdown.
Basehor-Linwood missed the extra point, and the 6-0 score didn't hold up for long. Mill Valley's star running back David Woods went to work, scoring touchdowns on the team's next two possessions. His second touchdown came on a 66-yard run where he turned the corner and simply outran the entire BLHS defense.
"He's probably one of the best we'll see all year," BLHS defensive end Brian Creed said of Woods. "We shut him down a couple times, but he had some big runs that really hurt us."
Mill Valley added a third touchdown just before halftime to go up 21-6. Bobcats coach Paul Brown said that touchdown hurt his team's confidence.
"I think that third touchdown in the first half made a huge difference," Brown said. "That starts to put it a little out of reach."
The BLHS was able to force a punt on Mill Valley's first possession of the second half, but surrendered another touchdown on the next possession.
The score remained 28-6 for much of the second half. Basehor-Linwood back-up quarterback Mike Armstrong saw his first significant action of the season, replacing Smith midway through the third quarter. Brown said he had been planning to get Armstrong a try at quarterback for awhile.
"We talked about it at halftime and I told him yesterday that was going to happen, that he was going to play at some point in time," Brown said. "He's a little quicker than Adam. I thought Adam did a real nice job executing his reads and running the option. He turned it up the field a couple times and made some nice gains. It's nice to have both guys who can do that, but I did need to get Michael some snaps at the varsity level so he's ready for it, too."
Armstrong finished 2-5 passing for 18 yards and also ran three times for 19 yards.
"I knew I was going in the whole time," Armstrong said. "I was confident and I did everything I could do/"
Armstrong said poor field position limited the offense's options in the second half.
Part of that field position was due to a goal line stand by the BLHS defense early in the fourth quarter. The Bobcats stopped a 16-play drive at the one yard line, stuffing a Mill Valley run on fourth down.
Creed sparked the defense with two sacks on the drive, using a speed rush to elude his blocker.
"I just fired inside and beat him off the line," Creed said.
Mill Valley penetrated the BLHS defense one more time late in the game, scoring a touchdown in the last two minutes to provide the final score.
Though the defeat left BLHS 0-3 to start the season Brown was quick to point out that the Bobcats had already faced two of their toughest opponents in Paola and Mill Valley, the defending Kaw Valley League champions. He added that there was still plenty of time to turn the season around.
"I remember one year I had an 0-3 start and we ended up going 6-3 and making the state semi-finals," Brown said. " One of the ways playing good teams early helps you is, it helps you get better."
The Bobcats' next chance to show improvement will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26 when they host Santa Fe Trail for homecoming.