Bobcats place 6 among league’s elite
Senior lineman leads the way with first-team all-KVL selection
Six Basehor-Linwood High School seniors ended their football careers with all-league honors last week.
Alex Smith led the way with a first-team All-Kaw Valley League selection for his work on the defensive line. Smith led the Bobcats with a whopping 29 tackles for loss, including seven quarterback sacks.
"He was first-team last year and I think everyone in the conference agreed that he was one of the best defensive linemen," Basehor-Linwood coach Steve Hopkins said.
Five Bobcats were dubbed honorable mention all-league players, including four seniors. Kevin Marshall, junior linebacker, joined seniors Drew Hunter, Will Peterson, Jordan Coffman and Garrett Chumley. Hunter was honored as an offensive lineman, Peterson as a running back, Coffman as a defensive back and Chumley as a punter.
With three defensive awards, two offensive awards and one special teams award, the Bobcats got surprisingly strong and balanced recognition for a team that finished with just three victories.
"When you only win three games, you figure that who you get is who you get," Hopkins said. "Obviously the teams that win the most games get the most all-conference and that's the way it ought to be."
Hopkins said he was especially happy to see his offensive workhorse Peterson get recognition. In a league stacked with seven 1,000-yard backs, the competition was fierce, but few runners meant as much to their team as Peterson. He finished with 1,030 yards rushing, the first back in BLHS history to top the 1,000-yard mark and averaged exactly 5 yards per carry.
Throughout the season Peterson continually credited his offensive line for his success, so it was fitting that Hunter joined him as an honorable mention all-league selection. The 6-foot-1, 292-pound senior provided power run blocking and leadership on a young offensive line.
"Drew was the anchor on the right side of the offensive line," Hopkins said. "We ran behind Drew when we needed yards."
Hopkins said that all five seniors who were honored had the talent to extend their football careers and play on at the next level. He said the junior college route would be a solid option for many of them.
The Bobcats will be left to pick up the pieces without them next year, building the defense around Marshall and the offense around quarterback Tanner Swafford, running backs Josh Ross and Todd Bell, and a more experienced offensive line. There will be significant rebuilding, but that's no different from most high school teams.
"I think everybody, every year when those seniors leave they say, 'what in the world are we going to do?'" Hopkins said. "You've got to just reload and go on. Try to put more bullets in the gun and go.