Bobcats, Lions both coming off 1st victories
Last week the Basehor-Linwood High School football team cracked the code. In the fourth game of the season the Bobcats figured out what it takes to win, defeating Clinton (Mo.) High School 6-0. Their next challenge is beating a Kaw Valley League opponent.
The Bobcats will face Lansing this Friday, another team coming off its first win after starting the season 0-3. The Lions' victory would have to be considered more impressive, as they handled Bonner Springs relatively easily, 27-7. Although Lansing and Basehor-Linwood now have identical records, BLHS coach Steve Hopkins said his team certainly wouldn't be expecting an easy game.
"We played extremely hard and were lucky to win by one score," Hopkins said of the previous week. "We know we have a huge challenge ahead of us in Lansing, and since they dominated Bonner I'm sure we respect them tremendously."
The Lions lost a number of seniors from last year's team, which finished 9-2 overall and tied Tonganoxie for the KVL title. Still, they have a plenty of talented players left. Senior tailback Kyle Grape rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns against Bonner, and also pulls double-duty as the Lions' best defensive back. Senior linebacker Joe Kohl, who Hopkins calls one of the best defensive players in the KVL, made 11 tackles against the Braves.
But the Bobcats are feeling much more confident about their own talent after last week. Bruce Tyner saw his first major action of the season and had a breakout game, rushing for 82 yards on 18 carries. Freshman quarterback Brandon Leppke continued to develop, throwing for 70 yards and a touchdown and running for 57 more yards. Best of all, the offense, which had committed seven turnovers in the two prior games, didn't have a single giveaway. Still, Hopkins is adamant that his youngsters won't let their first victory go to their heads.
"There is no chance we will be overconfident or cocky," Hopkins said, emphasizing the words "no chance." "We feel a little better emotionally, but we only made baby steps in improving our execution."
Lansing's victory last week came in their homecoming game, and the Bobcats will have theirs this Friday. That atmosphere provides plenty of energy to the home team, but can also be distracting. Still, the Bobcats already appeared focused just minutes after the victory over Clinton, which seemed to give them a big shot of confidence.
"It motivated us to do way better," Tyner said. "I knew we had it in us to win games, now we just want to keep it going and get into the playoffs."