BLHS’ Pierce among KVL’s best
No Kaw Valley League defensive player was more successful at sacking the quarterback this season than Anthony Pierce.
Pierce, a senior linebacker for Basehor-Linwood High School, was a menace to opposing quarterbacks all season and was a dominating force on defense.
“He led the team in sacks with 11,” BLHS coach Steve Hopkins said. “He did a great job of playing on the edge, and forced plays inside but did not allow anything outside. Every team had to account for him. He had a knack for timing the snap and was a weapon for us.”
Kaw Valley League coaches echoed those sentiments during last week’s postseason coaches meetings when Pierce was named a first-team selection on the defensive line on the All-Kaw Valley League team.
He also carried the football late in the season for the Bobcats when Chandler Schaake went down with an injury.
He carried the load in Basehor-Linwood’s playoff-clinching, district victory over Piper.
Pierce was one of seven Basehor-Linwood players named to the All-Kaw Valley League team and one of three first-team selections. BLHS finished the season with a 3-5 record in the Kaw Valley League, but coaches recognized the strong performances individual team members turned in this season.
“For only winning three league games, I was pleased with kids receiving those honors,” Hopkins said. “We felt like the three kids selected to (the) first team were very deserving.”
Chandler King was a first-team selection at linebacker. He finished the season with 102 tackles and also recorded six sacks this season.
“He led us in tackles for loss, and is a tremendous stopper against the run,” Hopkins said. “He also had five or six sacks. Being a sophomore, that is pleasing because he has a long way to go.”
On offense, Zach Ross was a first-team selection at center. Entering the year, he was Basehor-Linwood’s only returning starter on the offensive line. He played a pivotal role for the Bobcats as they switched from last season’s power offense to a shotgun spread formation this season.
Ross was responsible for snapping the football to the quarterback in the shotgun formation and had few bad snaps this season. He also did a lot of pulling in the team’s offenses to block on the outside during running plays.
“The other coaches in the league recognized that he was a key part of our offense,” Hopkins said.
No player played a more pivotal role this season for the Bobcats than Brandon Leppke. He was the team’s leading rusher and passer from the quarterback position. He ran for 876 yards and eight touchdowns and threw for 1,285 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“I haven’t figured out the exact percent of our offense that he accounted for this season, but it is incredible,” Hopkins said. “It is beyond what we want him to do, but he did an excellent job.”
He was a second-team quarterback behind Shane Gimzo of Perry-Lecompton.
“That is probably where he belongs,” Hopkins said. “Gimzo had a great season at Perry-Lecompton and is still playing.”
Perry-Lecompton plays at Holton on Friday in the Class 4A state semifinals.
Leppke also was an honorable-mention punter.
Ben Zuk was an honorable mention selection at tight end.
“He was the most consistent player on the whole team,” Hopkins said. “He was a great blocker on the edge.”
On the defensive line, Adam Schelert was an honorable mention selection.