Knipp takes out frustrations on Tonganoxie
After Basehor-Linwood's 4-1 loss to Mill Valley last week, Austin Knipp sat on the ground apart from his teammates with his back to the field.
Knipp, who was held without a goal by the Jaguars, was seething over the loss and already visualizing what he would do in the Bobcats' next game.
That was bad news for Tonganoxie High School.
Three days later Knipp led the Bobcats to a 4-0 victory over THS in their home opener. The senior forward scored two goals in the first 10 minutes, including one that was good enough to add to his extensive highlight reel.
"After the Mill Valley game I was just so mad about that game and I wanted to take that into this one," Knipp said after BLHS bested Tonganoxie. "We needed to rebound, and we did that."
In the game's fifth minute Knipp ran onto a perfectly lofted pass by midfielder Justin Gripka for a breakaway opportunity. His shot was deflected by the Chieftains' goalie and the ball bounced away from the net and back toward the onrushing defenders. Knipp turned around to collect the rebound and, with the defense closing fast and his back to the goal, knocked it backwards, over his head and into the net with a bicycle kick.
The goal shocked the Chieftains and wowed the home fans. Knipp himself seemed surprised it went in.
"That was probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing," he said. "I've never done that before."
"That just shows what a good player Austin is," BLHS coach Kevin Vincent said. "It was fortunate, but it also took a lot of skill just to aim that shot in the right direction so it had a chance to go in."
Knipp added a second goal five minutes later on a more conventional shot. Gripka took a corner kick that landed in the box and deflected off a few players. The ball popped free and rolled to Knipp at the top of the box for an uncontested shot, which he buried with his left foot.
Just 10 minutes into the game the Bobcats led 2-0, but couldn't manage another goal in the first half, despite out-shooting the Chieftains 10-3. Although they played with more confidence than they had against Mill Valley, the Bobcats still had trouble matching the intensity they showed in their season-opening drubbing of De Soto. That came as a surprise to Vincent, given that it was the first home game of the year.
"I expected them to come out a little more fired up, especially after a rough game versus Mill Valley," Vincent said. "We talk about that before every game, but it's something that's just got to happen."
In the second half BLHS settled for a lot of long shots that were easily handled by the Tonganoxie keeper. The Bobcats didn't put the game away until the 65th minute, when reserve forward Brett DeRuse scored his first goal of the season. The sophomore got an open shot from the right side of the box and fired it to the far corner to put BLHS up 3-0.
Ryan Sirridge added another insurance goal with five minutes left, his second on the season.
BLHS goalie Matt Murrell made seven saves for his second shutout in three games, including one diving stop just after halftime that stymied the Chieftains' best scoring chance. Murrell and the Bobcats have outscored opponents 10-4 in starting the season 2-1, but the win over Tonganoxie won't do much to impress league powerhouses Mill Valley and Bonner Springs, both of which beat the Chieftains by eight goals. Still, Knipp said he thought the Bobcats could compete with those squads.
"I think those scores show nothing," Knipp said. "It all depends on the day and time...This wasn't our best performance, but we're still getting some kinks worked out."