Leppke leads Basehor-Linwood to rout of Santa Fe Trail
Senior quarterback accounts for more than 400 yards of total offense in season-opening victory
Basehor-Linwood quarterback Brandon Leppke said the mood before Friday’s season opener felt different than previous ones; he wasn’t really nervous.
“I was not jittery,” he said. “It was very relaxed and confident. It was something that I had not seen since I have been in high school. It was really nice. I think we are all optimistic this year about what we can do.”
Friday’s 49-0 victory over Santa Fe Trail is proof that maybe he didn’t need to be nervous. The victory over the Chargers was an impressive way to start for the Bobcats.
Leppke, a four-year starter at quarterback, amassed more than 400 yards in the game. He finished with 14 carries for 171 yards and three touchdowns.
He also completed eight of 15 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
He also returned a punt for a touchdown.
It was all rather easy, he said.
“I didn’t have to do much, to be honest,” he said. “The holes were huge. When you run and you do not have to worry about a defensive lineman or linebacker and the first thing you see is the safety, it is pretty open, which is a testament to what your line is doing.”
He had huge holes to run through all night and took advantage of them.
Leppke rushed for a 54-yard touchdown on the third play of the game. He rushed for a 44-yard touchdown later in the quarter.
He connected on a touchdown pass to Ryan Murphy in the same quarter.
In the second half, Leppke tossed another touchdown to Colin Murphy. He likes throwing to the 6-foot-plus targets who happen to be twin brothers.
“Both the passes to the Murphys, they made great catches on,” Leppke said. “Ryan made a full extension on the first one. The second was a fade route to Colin, and he took the ball away from the corner. It makes it very easy to play with these guys.
“Coach (Steve) Hopkins tells me all the time, just throw it up and let them go get it. They’ll beat 99 percent of the defensive backs we have in the league.”
Leppke also returned a punt for a touchdown, where all of his blockers effectively picked up their assignments and cleared the way.
“Yeah, one of our guys, Chandler King, knocked a guy’s helmet off; Tim Stephens ran a guy to the sideline,” Leppke said. “It was like they say … part the waves.”
Later in the game, Ryan Murphy tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Logan Ross.
As a team, Basehor-Linwood rushed 33 times for 386 yards and three touchdowns.
In total, the team ran 52 plays for 441 yards, averaging 8.3 yards per play.
Basehor-Linwood also pitched a shutout, allowing Santa Fe Trail just 26 yards of offense in the first half on 24 plays.
Santa Fe Trail rushed 23 times for 39 yards, averaging 1.7 yards per carry. The Chargers also completed seven of 22 passes for 56 yards and had eight first downs all night.
King led the team with six tackles.
“Our defense tossed a shutout,” Leppke said. “They played extremely well. We did not have as many turnovers as we would like, but that will come.”
Overall, Hopkins said he was pleased with how his team is starting the season.
“It was a great team victory,” Hopkins said. “We had solid play on both sides of the ball tonight.”
The Bobcats (1-0) next play at 7 p.m. Friday in their home opener against rival Bonner Springs (0-1).
LEPPKE IS ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
In addition to guiding his team to a season-opening victory, Leppke received an individual honor for his performance against Santa Fe Trail.
GTM Sportswear announced Wednesday that Leppke is its Kansas Athlete of the Week scholarship winner for the first week of the season.
FTM Sportswear is a national sportswear company located in Manhattan. The program provides one athlete each week with a $300 scholarship to the college of their choice. In addition, $200 in GTM credit will be awarded to Basehor-Linwood High School.
Two other athletes were nominated for the award this week — Avery Clifton, a cross country runner at Washburn Rural in Topeka, and Glenn Whitaker, a running back for the Ellinwood football team.
Athletes may be nominated by their coach, athletics director or a media representative.