Contest called 9 minutes into 2nd half, as Bobcats blast Sumner, 12-2
Tuesday's game against Sumner Academy could easily have been considered a "trap game" for the Basehor-Linwood soccer team.
With a game against mighty Mill Valley lurking just one day later, the Bobcats could easily have been caught looking ahead to the Jaguars and overlooking the usually hapless Sabres.
With that in mind, BLHS coach Kevin Vincent spent a lot of time last week warning his players that Sumner was "much improved" and insisting that they couldn't afford to take the Sabres lightly. The things is, the Bobcats are also "much improved" this year, and they handled Sumner easily 12-2. The game was called nine minutes after halftime due to the mercy rule when the Bobcats' lead reached 10 goals. That wasn't necessarily Vincent's intent, as he pulled most of his offensive starters for good before the break.
"It was an opportunity for us to develop some of our younger players, give them a chance to shine," Vincent said. "We want to be a class team, not make anybody feel hurt."
Austin Knipp led the scoring barrage for BLHS, notching four goals despite not playing in the second half. Knipp raised his goal total to 16 and his partner on the front line, junior Stephen Millison, brought his to total to seven by scoring two goals for the third straight game.
The Bobcats also got a number of goals from less-heralded players Tuesday. B.J. Barker, a big, physical sophomore who usually controls the midfield for the junior varsity squad, matched Millison with two goals. Kyle Allen and Ryan Sirridge, two of the Bobcats' regular starting midfielders, added a goal apiece. For Allen, it was the first of the year, for Sirridge it was the fourth. Nathan Smith, Chris Douglas and Beau Himpel all also notched their first varsity goals against Sumner.
While Tuesday's game may have been a bit of a snoozer to some of the BLHS starters, for players like Barker, Smith, Douglas and Himpel, who don't get much varsity playing time, it was the type of experience that will help them get through the dog days of summer and two-a-day practices that start at 6 a.m.
"Several of them, you could see the excitement on their faces as they ran back after they scored," Vincent said. "It was good because they had the older guys cheering for them from the sidelines."
The Bobcats did have a couple defensive breakdowns that led to two goals. Against most teams allowing two goals isn't necessarily cause for concern, but in a game that the Bobcats certainly had full control of, only a shutout would have really satisfied the defense.
"They had one guy who was extremely fast," Vincent said. "A couple times he got around one player, the defense didn't communicate and he got off a good shot. He took advantage of his chances."
With the regular season almost half over the Bobcats had amassed a 6-1 record pending Wednesday night's tilt with Mill Valley. The Jaguars had given Basehor-Linwood its only loss of the season and, thanks to the Bobcats' victory over Lansing, had taken a stranglehold on the Kaw Valley League championship.
Because it was the two teams' second meeting of the season, Wednesday's game didn't count in the KVL standings, but Vincent and the Bobcats were still keyed up for the chance to avenge their only loss. Results of the game weren't available at press time, but can be found at www.basehorinfo.com. For a full update on BLHS soccer, see next week's Sentinel. The team is beginning to catch the eye of some regional media, as Vincent said the Bobcats were ranked fourth in class 4A in the Kansas City Star's latest coaches' poll.