Bobcats stop run and Thunder in win
Basehor-Linwood adhered to two basic tenets of football Friday night: run the ball and stop the run. The combination propelled the team to a 28-7 pasting of St. James Academy on homecoming.
Quarterback Brandon Leppke's 122 rushing yards were the catalyst for the ground game. The Bobcats totaled 252 rushing yards.
BLHS forced St. James to pass after successfully shutting down their rushing attack. St. James ran for 111 yards on 27 carries, but 58 of those yards came on one run-- one of the few mental errors the Bobcats would make on the night.
"I got to hand it to our defensive line," Andrew Stueckemann said. "Our line destroyed them. We overpowered them. We shut down their run game completely. When you can't run and you have to pass, that makes it difficult on any team."
The Bobcats took a 14-0 lead to halftime after a pair of second quarter touchdowns. Leppke hit Jacob Schierbaum for a 15-yard play action pass touchdown pass with five minutes left and Leppke scampered for a 50-yard touchdown keeper a couple minutes later after BLHS quickly reclaimed the ball.
After a scoreless third, Travis Inlow raced for a 44-yard touchdown on a reverse, pushing the score to 21-0. St. James then exploited a hole in the secondary for a 58-yard touchdown pass from Jim Getto to Ben Reynoldson before the Bobcats answered minutes later with a Chandler Schaake 1-yard TD score after BLHS recovered an onside kick attempt.
"Our goal was to shut down the run completely and to make them one dimensional," coach Steve Hopkins said.We did that by playing well up front and our linebacker play was exceptional.ther than the one long pass, we held them to an acceptable number of pass completions (10 of 26) and made several sacks of the QB, so we were pleased with that."
Only one thing disappointed Stueckemann about the performance. Reynoldson's long touchdown catch put the Bobcats six minutes away from a shutout.
"We wanted a shutout like no other," Stueckemann said. "It was our homecoming. We wanted that shutout. That was pretty disappointing, but those plays happen. Just like against Tongie, they got a lucky pass off. Stuff like that happens."
Hopkins said he was pleased with the defense.
"Our defense was dominant," Hopkins said.We gave up only the one long run just after halftime, but then we were able to keep them out of the end zone.hey were able to pass the ball effectively at times and eventually hit the big pass to get on the board, but our defensive line and rush defense was solid for all but that one play."
Schierbaum, along with the touchdown catch, had a stellar day on defense, netting two sacks and two other tackles for loss. Hopkins said he had a "tremendous" game. Schierbaum wasn't the only standout defender.
"Tyler Miles and Andrew Stueckemann played extremely well on defense against the run, and Tyler also was instrumental in our pass coverage," Hopkins said. "Andrew was both a linebacker and a down linemen in certain defensive fronts and that flexibility helps us on defense tremendously."
Stueckemann didn't mind the double duty on defense.
"When I was on the line, I blew through their line, got the quarterback in the first half, manhandled their center," Stueckemann said. "Our whole line manhandled them. At linebacker, I covered their screens, watched for passes, did what I was taught to do."
Hopkins could see areas for improvement even after the lopsided win.
"We have yet to put together a good game in all three phases, although our special teams were solid Friday as well as our Defense, but we must be more consistent offensively," Hopkins said.That and preventing our opponent's big plays on the ground and in the air has been our focus since the Bonner Springs game.e have done better, but still must improve in these areas."
Friday will bring Bishop Ward to Basehor for Senior Night. Hopkins was already thinking about the match up the day after the St. James win.
"Ward is an excellent opponent led by an experienced and talented senior quarterback, a great running back, with excellent receivers and a tremendous TE," Hopkins said.Their defense has a lot of two way starters just as our team does, but we have also been building depth and that is going to be the key this week. We must have several young players play at key moments.hey have a tremendous kicker who can make long field goals and pin you deep on kickoffs, so we must be good to great on special teams or they will gain a key edge."