Bobcats silence Ward, secure playoff berth
Basehor-Linwood is headed back to the Class 4A football state playoffs.
The only question that remains is whether the Bobcats will be the district champion or the runner-up. Well, that, and if they’ll also grab a share of the Kaw Valley League championship.
Thanks to its 34-21 victory over Bishop Ward Friday, BLHS improved to 7-1 overall, 6-1 in the KVL and 2-0 in district play. Piper edged Tonganoxie in the other district game to move to 2-0 in district play. That means both Basehor and Piper are playoff-bound.
The Bobcats and Pirates will square off at 7 p.m. today at Piper in a game that will determine the district champion.
“We have been preparing since last December to have a chance to play to be district champs,” coach Steve Hopkins told his team after the game.
Last year, Bishop Ward dashed the Bobcats’ chances of a district title, but this year the team is in control of its destiny entering the Piper showdown.
The Bobcats are in this position after an impressive victory over the Cyclones.
“This was a heck of a fight. We made a few more plays than them when we had to,” Hopkins said. “That was the difference in the game.”
The first half was more like a track meet.
Basehor-Linwood scored on its first drive. Quarterback Brandon Leppke completed a pair of passes to Colin Murphy that spurred the drive along. He connected with Murphy on a 24-yard touchdown pass to take an early lead. Bobby Courtney followed with the extra point.
On the Bobcats’ next possession, Leppke connected with Colin Murphy for a 19-yard touchdown. Earlier in the drive, Colin Murphy connected on a 50-yard pass to Leppke, giving the Bobcats a two-headed monster in their aerial attack.
Ward answered in the second quarter. Cole Muder brought the Cyclones back on the next drive. Muder broke runs for a total of 43 yards on the drive. The Bobcats also committed three personal fouls within a five-play stretch.
On third and long, BLHS was called for roughing the passer, which gave Ward a first down deep in Bobcats’ territory. The Cyclones then scored.
BLHS answered with another Murphy touchdown. This time Ryan Murphy, who suffered a broken arm last week, caught a 26-yard touchdown pass. Earlier in the drive, he caught a 7-yard reception. The Bobcats’ 2-point conversion attempt failed and the score was 20-7.
Bishop Ward answered with a 79-yard touchdown run by Alex Orel to get the Cyclones back into the game. The extra point attempt failed and the score was 20-13 with six minutes left in the first half.
On the next drive, the Bobcats put together a four-minute possession that included a couple of runs followed by short complete passes. The Bobcats converted on fourth-and-short with a Leppke sneak. Later, they scored on a touchdown pass from Leppke to Cole Bittle. Leppke threw for the 2-point conversion, and BLHS led 28-13 at intermission.
In the third quarter, the Cyclones used a combination of Muder and Orel in a full-house backfield formation to pound the ball. The Bobcats’ Richie O’Donnell forced a fumble on fourth down and BLHS recovered it.
Basehor-Linwood went on an 11-play 67-yard drive to seal the victory. The Bobcats showed a little grit on the driving, gaining yardage on tough running plays and converting on fourth-and-one. Leppke rushed in for a 9-yard touchdown.
Ward tried to answer on its ensuing drive, but Chandler King forced a fumble and Bobby Courtney recovered it and secured the victory.