Wristen: Districts are time to bring on the ‘Cats
If you cruise down I-70 you’re likely to see billboards promoting Kansas State football with the slogan: “Bring on the ‘Cats.”
Based on the Wildcats’ unimpressive play this season, most teams probably are thrilled to bring them on, collect a victory and go about their business.
Based on its record alone, opponents may have said the same thing about Basehor-Linwood High School’s football team early in the season.
The Bobcats were never fooled, however. They knew better.
Sure, they weren’t celebrating a 2-4 record, but they knew it was just a matter of time. Those early losses — to Class 5A teams such as Lansing, Bonner Springs, Mill Valley and Turner — came to teams that all might find themselves in the 5A state playoffs two weeks from now. Those losses stung, but they didn’t cause the Bobcats to hang their heads and give up on their dreams. Instead, those losses made them better.
After all, coach Steve Hopkins specifically wanted his team to play the Kaw Valley League’s big boys early. He saw last year that a tough early slate — even with a few losses — prepared his team for when it would face fellow Class 4A schools in the district playoffs and beyond.
BLHS was in a similar position last year when it took an ugly record into districts, hit a late hot streak, roared into the playoffs and pulled off a stunning upset of heavily favored Eudora.
That’s why Friday’s 38-15 dismantling of a vastly improved Tonganoxie squad came as little surprise. The Bobcats played tough, fundamentally solid defense and pounded the ball with their running game. They did the little things right, they did the big things right, and they did it all against an opponent that they were prepared to defeat thanks to their challenging early schedule.
Basehor has remaining district games against Bishop Ward and Piper. Neither contest will be easy, but both certainly are winnable if the Bobcats replicate their performance against Tonganoxie. If they do, opponents will be hard pressed to want to “Bring on the ‘Cats,” because if they’ve proven anything, it’s that they can be downright dangerous at district time.