Offense stalls again in district opening loss to Lansing
The pivotal play of Basehor-Linwood High School's 20-3 defeat at Lansing occurred on the very first drive last Friday.
The Bobcats took the opening kick and grinded out 56 yards on 16 plays. They converted twice on third down and once on fourth and looked very little like the same offense that had reached the end zone just once in the last eight quarters. Until the last play of the drive, that is.
On fourth and goal from the one, BLHS tailback Josh Ross was stood up short of the goal line. As he kept churning, desperately trying to reach the end zone, the ball was stripped free. Lansing linebacker Joe Kohl scooped it up and ran to the 37 before he was forced out of bounds.
So, after a drive that took two timeouts, went the length of the field and used up most of the first quarter, the Bobcats ended up with nothing. Not even field position. It was a drive that epitomized Basehor-Linwood's offensive struggles.
"We've got fourth and goal at the one, we've got to get enough blocks to get that into the end zone," Hopkins said. "And if we don't, then we can not afford to fumble it and let them return it like that, because our thinking in going for it was that even if we don't get it, they're still stuck on the one-yard-line."
In Ross' defense, he was not the only one who had trouble holding the ball. The game featured five fumbles, three for the Bobcats and two for the Lions. Four resulted in turnovers.
To Basehor-Linwood's credit, the defense hung tough and didn't let the Lions capitalize on the first fumble. Lansing's drive ended at the Bobcats' 20-yard-line, when Adam Smith sacked Lansing's Matt Warner. Warner fumbled and Basehor-Linwood recovered.
A scintillating 39-yard run by Will Peterson put the Bobcats in position to score on the next drive, but Tanner Swafford was sacked by Lansing's Ryan Robbins on third down and BLHS was forced to punt. Robbins, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound defensive end, was simply too much for the BLHS offensive line all night.
The Bobcats took advantage of another Lansing fumble on the next drive and put points on the board. Peterson led a 9-play drive that went 52 yards to Lansing's 13-yard-line. But on third-and-nine he was stuffed for a five-yard loss by Robbins and the Bobcats were shut out of the end zone again. Swafford kicked a 35-yard field goal to ensure BLHS came away with something.
The lead was short-lived, though, as the Lions hit pay dirt on their next possession. Warner dropped back to pass from the Bobcats' 24-yard-line. He surveyed the field for what seemed like an eternity before finding tight end David Kern in the end zone. Robbins missed the extra point, but Basehor-Linwood went into halftime down 6-3.
The Bobcats also went into halftime minus one of their strongest receiving threats, tight end Jacob Schierbaum. The sophomore suffered a knee injury and was helped into the locker room shortly before the break.
Schierbaum's absence would be felt in the second half, as the Bobcats saw their deficit grow almost immediately. Lansing punted on its first drive, but downed the ball at the one-yard-line. Basehor-Linwood fullback Todd Bell fumbled on the next play and the Lions recovered. Warner's quarterback sneak and the ensuing extra point made it 13-3 Lansing.
Though it was only the third quarter, that score put the game out of reach. The Bobcats were forced to go to the air, and, without Schierbaum, the passing game was one-sided. All eight of Swafford's second-half pass attempts went to senior Garrett Chumley, and the Lions noticed.
"They had a guy up on press coverage on me, and a couple guys off the ball taking away the deep routes," Chumley said. "They were double-teaming me on either side of the ball."
Swafford finished 4-11 for 50 yards. Chumley caught two balls for 29 yards on the night. Peterson ran for 103 yards, but 98 of them came in the first half. There just wasn't enough firepower in the BLHS offense, despite a solid defensive performance. Kevin Marshall, who led the Bobcats with nine tackles, was especially impressive.
"On defense Kevin plays like a man possessed," Hopkins said. "I know we had a lot of kids play well, but I thought he played really well."
Basehor-Linwood is at home tomorrow for Senior Night against Bishop Ward.