Win and they’re in
Bobcats blow away Cyclones, sit one win from playoff berth
The Basehor-Linwood Bobcats picked up their first district victory Friday night behind a devastating rushing attack. Both junior tailback Will Peterson and senior quarterback Michael Armstrong delivered 100-yard rushing days as the 'Cats thumped the Bishop Ward Cyclones, 38-20.
The Bobcat offense was so effective that they built up a 32-point lead at one point and controlled or retained possession for a whopping 30 plays in a row.
"Everything we could do was going right tonight," senior fullback/linebacker Josh Ishmael said. "We knew we had to go one possession at a time, and we never lost focus from that."
The tone of the game was set early when Armstrong returned the opening kickoff 41 yards to the Cyclone 39-yard line. Four plays later, Armstrong took the ball on an option keeper down the left side 13 yards for a touchdown to make the score 7-0 Basehor just 2 minutes into the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Bobcats caught Ward by surprise with an onside kick but could not create anything offensively. However, the kicking game would prove important again later on.
On the next Bobcat drive, Basehor drove 26 yards to earn a first and goal at the Cyclone 5-yard line, before stalling out at the 4. Seth Lashbrook then drove home a 21-yard field goal to pace the 'Cats to a 10-0 advantage.
But it was a Cyclone drive that proved to be the defining drive of the game for a Bobcat defense that, at times, bent but never really broke.
On a possession that began in the first quarter and ended in the second, the Cyclones drove 70 yards to collect a first-and-goal at the Bobcat seven. However, from there the Bobcat defense stiffened, thanks to two devastating stops by defensive tackle Michael Hancock and a TD-saving tackle by senior defensive back Lashbrook. When the Cyclones misfired on a pass on fourth-and-goal from the two, the Bobcats had survived their first major test.
From the two-yard line the Bobcats would begin their amazing 30-play offensive stretch. After driving out to their own 26-yard line in 7 plays, the Bobcats were forced to punt. But when the Cyclone return man fumbled the return, linebacker Kevin Marshall jumped on it, giving the 'Cats possession at the Ward 34. Six plays later, Armstrong would take the ball over on a 9-yard naked bootleg for a touchdown, improving the Bobcat advantage to 17-0.
Armstrong squib-kicked the next kickoff, which was again mishandled by the Cyclones. The recovery was made by Peterson at the Ward 35, and, 8 plays later, Armstrong collected his third touchdown of the evening by stretching out on a 2-yard keeper to make the score 24-0 Basehor, a lead they took into halftime.
"We had a lot better focus in practice this week, and I think it showed for us tonight," Peterson said. "We've picked up the intensity."
The Bobcat defense knew the Cyclones would take to the air in the second half in order to play catch-up and reacted accordingly. On the second play from scrimmage in the second frame, Jayce Proctor intercepted a Ward pass at the Basehor-Linwood 49 after Hancock applied intense pressure on the Cyclone QB.
Later on in the half, Ishmael contributed to the turnover count by leveling a Cyclone back receiving a pass in the backfield and knocking the ball loose for another Bobcat recovery. On the next play, Armstrong took another QB option keeper left for 29 yards and the 'Cats fourth touchdown of the night, increasing the lead to 31-0.
After the Cyclones scored on a quarterback sneak to make the score 31-6, they turned the tables on the 'Cats by recovering an onside kick in Basehor territory and then driving down to the 10-yard line.
However, the Bobcats executed their second red zone stand with help from a crucial stop by Peterson, a pass deflection by senior defensive end Kyle Speichinger, and a well-timed pass breakup by Proctor on a fourth down from the Basehor 7.
The Bobcats added their final touchdown on a Peterson 51-yard carry down the right side of the field that pushed the 'Cats to their biggest advantage of the game at 38-6.
The Cyclones added two more scores to make the final score, 38-20.
"Those two defensive stands were amazing," said Basehor head coach Steve Hopkins immediately following the game. "The second stand -- that's the whole game right there. We really played well in the red zone."
Hopkins had kind words for his defensive ends.
"Our ends did an excellent job," said Hopkins. "Jacob Schierbaum is just a freshman, so for him to get the pressure he did on their quarterback is amazing. Kyle (Speichinger) was also excellent and collected three passes deflected for us."
Pleased as he was with the performance, Hopkins was not content with letting his team rest on their laurels.
"We've got to a better job with our inside pass rush," affirmed Hopkins said. "When we play Piper next week, their quarterback is their leading ground gainer.
"We also should have had 30 points by halftime. We had every break in the world to get that, but we'll talk about that this week in practice. All in all, we feel pretty good about our whole team effort offensively."
The Bobcats will host Piper High School this Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. for a spot in the Bi-District Playoffs. The winner will advance to face Tonganoxie, Tuesday, Nov. 1.