Bobcats suffer first setback
Turnovers, tough Mill Valley team lead to Basehor-Linwood’s first loss of the year
The Basehor-Linwood Bobcats saw double last Friday night as the Mill Valley senior/sophomore/running back/brother combination of David and Justin Woods combined for 230 yards rushing and four touchdowns to help hand the 'Cats their first defeat of the season 35-6.
"They're outstanding players," said Basehor head coach Steve Hopkins. "We knew David would be the best running back we would face all season, and then Justin comes in and gives them a nice change of pace. It's a kind of speed combination that's hard to duplicate in practice when you're sending in freshman running backs as a scout team offense. Unfortunately, we bit on their inside fakes too much, and they beat us to the outside."
The tone of the game was set during Mill Valley's first possession of the game when Justin Woods took a pitch to the left sideline and raced down the field 47 yards for the game's first score. The extra point was good, putting the Jaguars up 7-0 in the first quarter.
On the Bobcats' first possession, another important theme of the game would come into play -- turnovers.
On the first BLHS play from scrimmage, Josh Ishmael burst through the line for 15 yards before having the ball pried loose from his grasp during second-effort yardage. The Jaguars scored two plays later on a Zach Starnes run up the middle, and only halfway through the quarter the Bobcats were already down 14-0.
Overall, the 'Cats would turn the ball over five times in the game -- three on fumbles and two on interceptions. The Bobcats would fumble three other times but retained possession.
"I think that opening score stunned us a little bit," said Hopkins. "As a result we had some guys who tried to do too much, on offense and defense; it wasn't for their lack of effort."
The Bobcats gave the ball up on a Todd Bell fumble during the next possession. Mill Valley took advantage of the short field seven plays later on an option right to David Woods, who scampered in from 22 yards for the score. At the end of the first quarter the score was 21-0, Jaguars.
Offensively, the Bobcats were able to control the center of the field and move the ball on the ground, but turnovers and incomplete passes bogged down each drive.
"I thought there were times we moved the ball at will on them," Hopkins said. "But then we would just put the darn ball on the ground."
Junior tailback Will Peterson had his third consecutive 100-yard rushing effort with 156 yards on 18 carries (8.7 yards/carry), including two rumbles of over 25 yards.
Senior fullback Josh Ishmael added 60 yards on 8 carries (7.5 yards/carry).
However, the air attack of the Bobcats faltered.
After a Justin Woods 12-yard TD run had made the score 28-0 at halftime, Michael Armstrong would throw the first of his two interceptions to David Woods. Woods would finish the Mill Valley scoring two plays later with a 10-yard TD run, making the score 35-0. After Armstrong's second interception two possessions later, Armstrong came off the field and told the coaches something was wrong.
"He came off the field and told us, 'Coach, I can't finish my throws.' Well, he had had a slight shoulder separation earlier in the week but was cleared to play. However, when he gets hit hard on that shoulder he's not going to be able to throw for the next several minutes. He got hit hard earlier, and I think he was feeling some residual pain from that that wouldn't let him complete his throwing motion."
Still, the story of the game was the Woods brothers, who broke several tackles on their way towards running for 10.8 yards per carry (David) and 9.3 yards per carry (Justin).
"They're phenomenal, that's for sure," Hopkins said. "But we have to improve. Obviously we're not there yet. We've got to go back to fundamentals -- clubbing upwards, ball-handling, ball security. We've got to get better."