Bobcats honor coach’s father with game ball, victory over Lansing
LANSING — The Basehor-Linwood football team huddled around coach Steve Hopkins in the moments after Friday’s 42-7 victory against Lansing at Frank Graham Field.
Usually Hopkins does the speaking, but that night players preempted him, presenting him with a game ball to give to his father, Jimmy T. Hopkins, who is battling cancer and was in town last weekend to see his grandchildren and Hopkins.
Hopkins’ father had wanted to attend the game, but then was unable to attend it because he wasn’t up to it.
Hopkins looked at the football that was signed by every Basehor-Linwood player and got a little choked up.
“This really means a lot,” he whispered. He did not go on because it might have been too difficult.
Players had decided to present him the game ball to honor his father. They had discussed wearing wrist bands to honor Hopkins’ father, but it would have been against state rules. They got the idea for the football from assistant coach David Svoboda.
Later, Hopkins explained what the ball meant to him and his family.
“It was for my dad who is suffering from cancer…,” Hopkins said. “It is very touching. He had hoped to come tonight. It is real special of the team to do this.”
The Bobcats picked a nice game to honor him. They dominated longtime nemesis Lansing. The victory improved the Bobcats to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the Kaw Valley League, and it was Hopkins’ first victory over Lansing in his career.
BLHS did it with a makeshift lineup as a lot of players missed practice time and some didn’t play because of illnesses.
“Honestly, once we figured out how to line up properly, we were all right,” Hopkins said. “We had a lot of players playing different positions.”
In a way though, the usual formula was in play for the Bobcats against the Lions. BLHS played stifling defense and ran the ball with quarterback Brandon Leppke. When necessary, the Bobcats threw the ball short and then deep to twin brothers Colin and Ryan Murphy.
Leppke rushed for three touchdowns and threw for two more.
He finished with 20 carries and 214 yards. Collectively, Basehor-Linwood rushed for 281 yards on 41 carries, averaging 6.5 yards per carry.
Leppke also completed six of 11 passes for 114 yards. Ryan Murphy had three catches for 57 yards, and Colin Murphy had one catch for 38 yards.
In the first quarter, Leppke scored a touchdown on a 3-yard run.
The Lions drove the ball on their next possession but came away empty handed. On the drive, Lansing quarterback Litton Van Der Werff rushed for a 38-yard gain deep into Bobcat territory. The drive stalled when BLHS linebacker Chandler King made a big tackle on third down. A field goal attempt was no good and Basehor-Linwood led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Basehor-Linwood’s defense controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the game. Lansing rushed for just 68 yards on 31 carries. The Lions completed 18 of 29 passes for 195 yards.
Jake Potts and King led the Bobcats with 11 tackles each. King had four tackles for loss and Potts had two, including a quarterback sack.
Tim Stephens, Jesse Hiss and John Schewmon each had nine tackles, and Bobby Courtney had eight.
BLHS scored on the first play of the second quarter when Leppke tossed a 38-yard touchdown pass to Colin Murphy. On the 2-point conversion, Leppke pitched the ball to Hiss who rushed to the end zone, completing the conversion.
Following the conversion, BLHS failed to recover an onside kick attempt. Lansing embarked on a 10-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a touchdown by Van Der Werff. The extra point attempt by Brady Barnes was good.
The Bobcats picked up big yardage on their next drive with a screen pass from Leppke to Steyr Stubenrauch who rumbled 36 yards to the Lions’ 11-yard line. Hiss scored a few plays later on a 4-yard touchdown run. The touchdown was the final score of the half, and the Bobcats led 20-7 at intermission.
Early in the third quarter, BLHS scored off of a Lansing turnover. The Lions were driving when Spencer Blew fumbled and Dakota Webber recovered it.
Moments later, Leppke tossed a 28-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Murphy. The Bobcats converted the 2-point conversion when Leppke tossed the ball to Richie O’Donnell.
Leppke rushed for another touchdown early in the fourth quarter. He broke another 45-yard touchdown run later in the quarter, giving the Bobcats a 42-7 lead.
Lansing failed to score the rest of the game, and the Bobcats picked up their third straight victory since falling to Mill Valley, 17-14, on Sept. 18.
Basehor-Linwood begins district play on Friday, Oct. 16, with a home game against Tonganoxie (5-1).