Bobcats looking for 1st trip to quarterfinals
BLHS soccer team faces De Soto with a trip to the final 8 on the line
Last time the Basehor-Linwood High School team faced De Soto, it was the season opener and there wasn't much at stake.
When the two teams take the field at 6 p.m. Friday at BLHS, they'll be battling for a spot in the state quarterfinals.
BLHS worked its way into Friday's game by scoring six second-half goals against Eudora on Tuesday, downing the Cardinals 6-0.
De Soto was nearly as impressive in its first-round game Tuesday, beating Maur Hill 4-0.
The Bobcats dominated the Wildcats 5-0 when the two teams faced off on opening night, but all-state senior Austin Knipp said they shouldn't let that result creep into their minds.
"I don't think we should look back at that," Knipp said. "I'm pretty sure De Soto's gotten better and I know we've gotten better. Either way it's going to be a fight."
When the Bobcats played at De Soto earlier this year, Wildcats' coach Darren Erpelding was experimenting with a new formation.
He moved star striker Zach England back to midfield to try and suck in defenders and create more space up front. It took time for the Wildcats to adjust, but they have played well down the stretch and come into Friday with a 9-8 record.
England, who scored 19 goals last year as a sophomore, leads the team again this year with 14.
De Soto senior Brady Seamen is the team's secondary scoring threat, and earned second-team all-state honors last year.
The Wildcats also have a solid goaltender in Jake Sosna, who doesn't give up a lot of soft goals
All of which makes getting off to a fast start important for the Bobcats. They were shut out for the entire first half Tuesday, and the pressure to score increased with each passing minute. Still, with Knipp, the state's all-time leading goalscorer on the field, getting an early goal or two might not be so complicated.
"We do have the best striker in the history of Kansas," junior captain Sam Seaman said. "Getting the ball outside and then crossing it into the middle, that's the key to soccer."
A win Friday would put the Bobcats in the state quarterfinals for the first time in school history.
Quarterfinal action will be on Tuesday, Oct. 31, and will be at BLHS if the Bobcats win.