Tonganoxie outlasts Basehor-Linwood
The Basehor-Linwood football Bobcats put forth a valiant effort in their Bi-District playoff game Tuesday night, but eventually fell victim to Tonganoxie's superb triple-option offense, 34-10. The loss ended the Bobcats season with a 5-5 record.
Pointing to his locker room after the loss, Bobcat head coach Steve Hopkins said, "I've got some tired kids in there. They played their hearts out tonight."
When asked about what swayed the game, Hopkins was very complimentary of the Chieftain's offensive prowess.
"We just couldn't stop their triple option game," said Hopkins. "Our key for the defense was to make them pitch the ball but we just couldn't do that. We couldn't stop their fullback option or their quarterback follow. We improved in every aspect from our first game with Tonganoxie, but we're not to their level yet."
The fullback option was indeed a dangerous weapon for the Chieftains who utilized senior Kaleb Lawrence much more against the Bobcats Tuesday than they did in the teams' previous meeting in October -- a 55-14 Chieftain win. Lawrence rushed for over 140 yards and two touchdowns Tuesday night in leading Tonganoxie to victory. Quarterback Ross Starcher also rushed for over 100 yards and two scores.
However, the Bobcats hung in with the 9-1 Chieftains for most of the game.
After falling behind early in the second quarter 13-0, the Bobcats used a sterling defensive stand to pin the Chieftains deep within their own territory. Key stops by senior safety Michael Armstrong and senior defensive end Kyle Speichinger forced a third-and-eight situation for the Chieftains.
On the next play, freshman defensive end Jacob Schierbaum sacked Starcher for a six-yard loss, forcing a punt. The snap on the punt was mishandled and a fierce Bobcat rush forced the Chieftain punter to kick the ball out of the end zone for a asehor safety.
On the following possession, the Bobcats drove 45 yards and scored on an Armstrong 22-yard pass to Speichinger, who made a leaping grab in the back of the end zone for the touchdown.
Armstrong then connected on a two-point conversion attempt to senior wideout Seth Lashbrook to make the score 13-10 Tonganoxie.
The Chieftains scored on their next possession with a 48-yard run by Lawrence to extend their lead 21-10, but they were intercepted on their following possession at the Basehor 38.
Armstrong moved the ball down to the Tonganoxie 37 with a 25-yard completion to Proctor. On the last play of the half, Armstrong scrambled out of a passing situation and dashed 22 yards before being brought down 15 yards from the Chieftains' end zone.
The Bobcat offense was shut out the rest of the evening.
After the game, Hopkins kept his seniors on the field for an emotional sendoff and to thank them for their careers and sacrifices for the BLHS program.
"I told them that they do have a legacy, that they've helped us start the program in the right direction, and that's what I want us all to take away from tonight," Hopkins said. "I think Kyle Speichinger played his best game offensively tonight. We gave him a chance, and he took advantage. Overall, we improved in every aspect of our game from the first time we played them."
The Bobcats finished the season with a 5-5 record, a dramatic improvement from the two total wins they racked up in the past two seasons.
For one final look at the highly successful 2004 season, as well as the list of all-Kaw Valley League performers, check next week's edition of the Sentinel.