Basehor-Linwood football players excited after advancing to playoffs
The first district win in coach Steve Hopkins' four year run, courtesy of a 35-16 win against Bishop Ward on Friday night, has the Bobcats thinking playoffs--even with a Thursday night contest at Piper still to play.
"Obviously our goal is to get better each week with the eye toward the state playoffs, so reaching this point is exciting," Hopkins said. "Winning district is a big step."
The team has been focused on that step since winter. The Bobcats have had "state" workouts every Friday at 6:30 a.m. beginning in January and lasting through summer.
The team did 14 reps of each exercise in the offseason because the state champion will end up playing 14 games. The reps are reduced with each game played, so on Thursday the Bobcats will do six reps because there are six games left for the teams that reach the state championship game.
Quarterback Brandon Leppke said winning districts was a team goal, but said: "State is the ultimate goal for every team."
Although the team appears to be playing some of its best football of the season, Hopkins is stressing consistency.
"We have made significant progress but we are still not clicking consistently," Hopkins said. "Our defense had a letdown in the 3rd quarter (against Bishop Ward) for example, and our offense played poorly in the 2nd quarter, but, we came close to playing our best football of the year in the 4th quarter and that was encouraging. Our off season strength and conditioning paid off Friday."
Hopkins is preaching ball security in practice. The coach has also introduced playoff-exclusive gadget plays and fakes that could be useful in a tight game.
Running back Chandler Schaake said he was "super duper happy" to win districts, but admitted he couldn't have foreseen the team's success.
Schaake said the weight program implemented by coach Ross Schwisow has allowed the team to peak at the right time.
The junior said the team only needs to work on one thing prior to the playoffs
Leppke, as the sophomore leader of the offense, said being a young player wouldn't add additional pressure in the postseason. He said the team's passing game, often neglected when the strong rushing attack is rolling, has improved.
"We've been working real hard on getting the passing game to come around," Leppke said. "We showed in the Lansing game that we can complete passes if we need to."
The sophomore then discussed an idea that would have been unthinkable only weeks ago:"I don't see any reason why we can't go all the way," he said.