Veteran ’Cats loaded with talent
Basehor-Linwood returns starters at key positions
Basehor-Linwood’s success this football season will depend on how quickly the returning players can come together, play as a unit and execute a game plan.
Expectations are somewhat high for the Bobcats, who have experienced classes of seniors and juniors returning.
In the high school experience game — where teams are either loaded with experienced players, or young and just looking to improve — Basehor-Linwood is stacked with returning talent.
Brandon Leppke is a four-year starter at quarterback, and Zach Ross has started four seasons at center.
The players are among the reasons for optimism at Basehor-Linwood High School.
“You definitely pointed toward this season when they were freshmen,” BLHS coach Steve Hopkins said. “Yet it is not just him (Leppke). We have a group of 20-plus seniors, 10 to 15 of them started as sophomores.”
This is the deepest team Hopkins has coached at the school with 34 letter winners returning. The Bobcats also have 52 players who are sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Hopkins said he doesn’t anticipate that any player will have to play every snap both ways this season, enabling players to be more rested when they are on the field. That is a luxury that the Bobcats haven’t had in previous seasons.
This year, though, different players will see the field depending on what the personnel package calls for.
“What we have found is there is some way that 25 to 30 kids could play on any play depending on the package,” Hopkins said.
Personnel groupings will change based on the formation that is called on the field.
On offense, Hopkins said he is excited about the number of players who can make plays for his team. The team will run a spread offense, passing the ball to players and allowing them to make plays.
Twins Colin and Ryan Murphy, both standing 6-foot-4, return for their sophomore seasons at wide receiver. Colin also might see some time at quarterback, with Leppke taking reps at another position.
In addition, Logan Ross, Daniel Prioleau, Nathan Quigley and Bobby Courtney should play the position.
In the backfield, Steyr Stubenrauch has practiced well early in the season, consistently recognized as the team’s best blocker and capable of making plays with the ball. Jesse Hiss, Chandler King, Dakota Webber and Martin Buck also expect to play running back.
On defense, Basehor-Linwood’s success starts up front on the line. John Schewmon has been difficult to block at defensive end, and Dakota Webber has played great on the defensive line, Hopkins said. Clint Schierbaum will not play this season because of a leg injury.
King and Hiss have played well at linebacker. Derek Shandy also performed well rotating at linebacker and defensive back.
“Not matter which position he plays, he is equally up to the task,” Hopkins said of Shandy. “He does not line up wrong. He reads what is happening and recognizes what the offense will do. Derek just made a lot of plays.”
With this personnel returning, Basehor-Linwood players understand the goals in front of them. They are charged with playing in a tough Kaw Valley League, and are focused on making it to the Class 4A state playoffs for the third year in a row. BLHS ended last season with a loss to Holton in the playoffs.
“We always want to point to state,” Hopkins said. “We point toward being good by districts. We understand that come district time, we need to have things worked out.”