Archive for Saturday, September 30, 2006

Two the hard way

Lions win second straight, need overtime to do it

September 30, 2006

— Stephen Didde got the glory that comes with making a game-winning touchdown catch, but the junior wide receiver knew where the credit was due for Lansing High's 13-6 overtime victory at Basehor-Linwood.

"The defense again was huge," said Didde, whose 10-yard touchdown reception from J.T. Collins put Lansing ahead for good in overtime. "They got us the ball back so many times with the three-and-outs."

There was no question the Lansing defense played the role of hero in spoiling Basehor's homecoming Friday night. The Lions held the Bobcats to just 105 yards of offense. The Lions also forced seven punts and three turnovers - a fumble recovery by Tyler Strouhal and two interceptions by Tim Torchio.

No defensive stand was bigger than the one Lansing made moments after the go-ahead touchdown in overtime. Trailing by a touchdown, Basehor took its four cracks at the end zone. The Bobcats needed to go 10 yards but mustered just 12 inches of positive gain. When Brandon Leppke's fourth-down pass to Jacob Schierbaum fell incomplete, the Lions finally breathed a sigh of relief and were able to enjoy their second straight victory.

"You'd rather win those games than lose them," LHS coach Bill Pekarek said. "It was hard-fought there at the end. Our sideline was fantastic and our players were playing hard and really into it."

Ironically, it wasn't the first time Lansing and Basehor have gone to overtime on the gridiron. The meeting two years ago went three overtimes before LHS prevailed, 37-34.

From start to finish there was never a dull moment Friday night. On just the second play of the game, Lansing senior linebacker Joe Kohl met Basehor running back Bruce Tyner in the hole for a bone-crunching tackle. Moments later, LHS junior Justin Smith nearly knocked Baseor's Ryan Lamb out of his cleats with a clean block on a punt return.

The Lansing defense forced a pair of three-and-outs in the first quarter that gave the offense prime field position at the Basehor 46-yard-line on just the Lions' second possession of the game. They used an assortment of runs from Collins and running backs Kyle Grape and Daniel Eyerly to move the ball down the field before Collins connected with Kohl for an eight-yard touchdown on fourth down. Brad Terron missed the extra point, but the Lions led 6-0 with 1:29 left in the first quarter.

Lansing High junior running back Chris Hill storms up the middle for a five-yard gain during the fourth quarter.

Lansing High junior running back Chris Hill storms up the middle for a five-yard gain during the fourth quarter.

Lansing's defense continued its domination throughout the rest of the first half as it forced three more punts and Torchio grabbed his first interception of the night. Although the defensive effort gave the Lions' offense plenty of good field position to work with, it was unable to produce more points. Terron missed a 30-yard field goal attempt - just Lansing's first field goal try of the year - on the final play of the half.

"I felt like we were in control most of the game, but we weren't doing anything offensively to move the ball consistently," Pekarek said. "We'd have a couple good plays and then a nothing play."

Lansing's struggles on offense continued in the second half. It mustered three straight drives that were promising at the beginning but stalled too soon. Fortunately for the Lions, they forced two more three-and-outs. They also halted a dangerous Bobcat drive midway through the third quarter when sophomore Tyler Strouhal pounced on a fumble that temporarily halted a momentum shift to the home team.

Basehor finally broke through Lansing's iron gates late in the fourth quarter. It was hardly the LHS defense's fault, however. Instead, Basehor forced a three-and-out with 5:02 left in regulation and then blocked a punt. The Bobcats recovered the ball on the 11-yard-line. Leppke scored on a one-yard run two plays later to tie the game at 6-6. A bad snap on the extra point forced holder Anthony Pierce to scramble, but Smith smothered him and kept the game tied with 3:50 left.

Lansing had two more chances to win in regulation. First, a brief drive stalled out and the Lions were forced to punt. The Bobcats muffed the kick, though, and Mycol Bowen recovered the fumble at the 39-yard-line with 41 seconds left. The Lions marched to the 21-yard-line but were unable to score before overtime.

Lansing got the ball first in the extra period. Chris Hill plowed up the middle for a two-yard gain on the first play. Hill earlier came of the bench to replace injured tailback Kyle Grape and sparked the offense with 38 yards rushing in the fourth quarter, so he had all of Basehor's attention. That made it easy for the Lions to use him as a decoy on the next play.

Collins took the snap, made a quick drop, rolled out and found Didde wide open in the endzone.

Lansing High's David Dickson (46), J.T. Collins (4) and Brad Terron (45) smother Basehor's Chandler Schaake on the Bobcats' first offensive play of overtime.

Lansing High's David Dickson (46), J.T. Collins (4) and Brad Terron (45) smother Basehor's Chandler Schaake on the Bobcats' first offensive play of overtime.

"It felt amazing," Didde said of making the catch for the go-ahead score. "It was just a great call by the head coaching staff. There was no one around me."

After struggling to make extra points in recent games - as well as Friday night - Terron split the uprights perfectly for the extra point to make it 13-6.

"I've missed so many," Terron said. "I felt so bad. I missed the one when we lost by one (to Santa Fe Trail two weeks ago). I felt like it was all my fault. I'm just glad I made this one."

Terron then stepped up with the rest of the defense to make the final stop and secure the victory.

"We just wanted to win the dang game," he said. "It's their homecoming. Everybody wants to ruin someone's homecoming."

Lansing (2-3 overall, 2-3 Kaw Valley League) now has won two straight after an 0-3 start. Strouhal said the second win was sweeter than the first.

"Last week's win gave us a good taste of how it feels to win," he said. "This one gave us more intensity and more courage, and we had a lot of help from the sideline and the crowd. It was just exciting to be out there."

The Lions will try to run their streak to three at 7 p.m. Friday when they play the Mill Valley Jaguars at Mill Valley. For a preview of that game, pick up Thursday's edition of The Current.

NOTES:

- Lansing held Basehor to just 32 yards of offense in the first half.

- The 105 yards Basehor gained was the fewest allowed by the Lansing defense all season.

- Basehor's running backs combined for 31 carries for 91 yards rushing.

- Senior Kyle Grape was Lansing's top rusher with 13 carries for 46 yards before leaving the game with an ankle injury late in the third quarter.

- Junior Chris Hill entered the game at running back when Grape got hurt. He provided an instant spark and finished with nine carries for 40 yards. Prior to Friday's game, Hill had two carries for 11 yards this season.

- Senior fullback Daniel Eyerly had nine carries for 37 yards.

- Senior quarterback J.T. Collins completed 10 of 22 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

- Senior tight end Joe Kohl had three catches for 36 yards. Junior wide receiver Stephen Didde had three catches for 21 yards. Both players had a touchdown.

- Junior linebacker David Dickson continued his strong season with a team-high 14 tackles. Senior Joe Kohl had eight stops. Juniors Chris Hill and Mycol Bowen and sophomore Tyler Strouhal each had four tackles.

- Strouhal and Bowen each recovered a fumble.

- Junior Tim Torchio had two interceptions.

- Lansing had 260 yards of total offense on 69 plays. Of those yards, 181 came on the ground on 47 rushing plays.

- The Lions were penalized six times for 58 yards.

- Friday's game was Basehor's homecoming. At halftime of the game, Bobcat seniors Austin Knipp and Maggie Herbster were crowned king and queen.

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