Columbus discovers victory
Basehor-Linwood High School coach Steve Hopkins will tell you the remedy to his team's problems are simple. It is not rocket science. For the Bobcats to get better, they need to block and tackle.
They did not do much of either particularly well last Friday night when Columbus High School came to town for the annual Homecoming game. The Bobcats dropped to 2-3 with the 25-6 loss and they hit new lows on offense and defense.
Offensively, the Bobcats could only muster a season-low 89 total yards against the Titans. Senior running back Will Peterson struggled, running for only 27 yards.
The Bobcats' change of pace running back Josh Ross had some success early in the second half, when he scored the only Basehor-Linwood touchdown of the game, a 10-yard run up the middle to bring the Bobcats within a score of the Titans. But Ross also suffered from a lack of blocking and wasn't able to get much else going on the ground throughout the game.
"We can't block. Right now we are not blocking with any finish," Hopkins said. "We are not necessarily confused... We knew who to block but we did not block well."
Hopkins was just as frustrated with his defense's poor tackling. Columbia's first two touchdowns came on plays where the Bobcats missed tackles. The first touchdown was a 27-yard screen pass to the Titan's senior running back Zane Kellogg with 9:47 left in the second quarter.
Kellogg scored again the next time he touched the ball two minutes later when he ran the ball 56 yards, breaking tackles on the way to his second touchdown. Hopkins blamed his defense's miscues on missed tackles and breakdowns in the run defense.
Despite the defense's struggles, they were able to give the Bobcats several chances to get back in the game. Down 12-0 with over 1:30 left in the first half, junior defensive end Kevin Marshall forced a fumble on the Columbia 20 yard line.
The Bobcats, with 1:30 left on the clock, thought they could go 20 yards and gain the momentum going into halftime. But on the ensuing play after the fumble, sophomore quarterback Tanner Swafford was hit in the back by a defender just as he was handing the ball off to Peterson. The Titans recovered the loose ball.
"That just kills us," Hopkins said of the fumble. "That's the play of the game. Because obviously, we have more than enough time. Our intention was to hand the ball off on a very safe handoff and we just blew an assignment. They had a kid come through completely clean and hit Tanner in the back as he was handing the ball off, and obviously you can't have that happen."
Ross's third quarter touchdown was also a result of a fumble recovery by the Bobcats early in the second half.
Senior Jordan Coffmann recovered his second fumble of the day on a botched snap and the Bobcats were able to move the ball down the field and score.
But the Bobcats could not capitalize on the other opportunities created by their defense.
"When you're struggling, you've got to find a way to get the ball in the end zone. We missed those opportunities," Hopkins said.
Hopkins knows for his offense to be successful, the yards will have to come from the run game.
He said the Bobcats are not going to score on big plays, but they have to score methodically, gradually moving the ball down the field.
"We will spend all week long blocking and tackling," Hopkins said. "We really have nothing to add defensively or offensively. We've got to work on blocking and tackling and that's our focus."