Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2004

Opinion: I stand corrected

September 9, 2004

OK, so I was right about one thing.

Last week's Bonner-Basehor football game was one of the most exciting in recent memory. It wasn't a blowout, and although it didn't come down to the wire, the outcome was in doubt well into the fourth quarter.

As you no doubt know by now, the Bobcats pulled out the victory, winning 23-14 in convincing fashion.

But before the game, I made a prediction. I prophesized -- or so I thought -- that the game wouldn't be decided by a single play or a single player. I said the team that committed the least amount of turnovers would win and that team football would overcome individual talent.

Boy was I wrong.

Although he didn't do it entirely alone, Basehor-Linwood quarterback Michael Armstrong was absolutely the catalyst that led the Bobcats to victory.

Armstrong's performance was amazing.

Consider the following as proof. During the game's four quarters Armstrong sat out less than 10 plays. He was nearly as effective on defense as he was as unstoppable on offense. He took every snap for the Bobcats, ran new coach Steve Hopkins' sets to near perfection and even handled the kicking duties for the BLHS kickoff team.

Armstrong was the reason the Bobcats won this game -- their second in a row over their fierce rivals from the south.

But he wasn't alone.

And you didn't have to look farther than the man himself to find that out.

"The main thing that led to my success was our linemen," a fidgety Armstrong said shortly after moving the Bobcats to 1-0 for the first time in three years. "There's about 600 pounds in front of me so I just try to follow that. But it wasn't just them, my running backs did an awesome job of blocking for me, too."

Most of Armstrong's damage came on the ground and most of it came in the form of designed quarterback runs.

Last year, Armstrong buried the Braves with the option play. This year, the option was nearly non-existent, but the result was the same.

Time and time again, Armstrong racked up six, seven and 10 yards at a time.

It was clear that his positive gains wore down the Bonner Springs defense, both mentally and physically.

And it was even clearer that Armstrong was enjoying every minute of it.

"I just love to run," he said with a smile.

So far, that's the understatement of the season.

If the field were 10 miles long Armstrong wouldn't stop until he traveled each and every one of those 52,800 feet. But Friday night he only needed 474 feet, as he rushed for 158 yards on 20 carries and recorded all three BLHS touchdowns.

"We just couldn't stop Mike," said Bonner Springs quarterback Jordan Lamb. "Period."

Although it's just one win and it came against a young and inexperienced Bonner Springs defense, Friday's victory was a huge accomplishment for the Bobcats.

For starters, it proved that the hard work they've put in since Hopkins arrival has been worth it. But perhaps more importantly, Friday's win proved that the Bobcats have a leader who is not only capable but also more than willing to do whatever it takes to rack up wins.

His name is Michael Armstrong and if he plays the rest of the season the way he did against Bonner Springs on Friday, wins will be something the Bobcats become used to talking about.

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