Six Basehor-Linwood football players sign with Fort Scott
Fort Scott Community College has spent the past few years raiding the Kansas City area for its top football talent.
The plan has worked awfully well. Fort Scott finished the 2009 season ranked second in the nation and came within one minute of winning the NJCAA national championship.
“It’s really paid off for them,” Basehor-Linwood football coach Steve Hopkins said. “It’s like the Kaw Valley League South; that’s what we told them, because they have a ton of really talented KVL kids in their program.”
They’re about to get six more talented KVL kids, all of them from Basehor-Linwood.
David Wynn, John Shewmon, Derek Shandy, Zach Ross, Jake Potts and Juston Nichols all have signed letters of intent to play for the Greyhounds.
The six BLHS seniors all played key roles in leading the Bobcats to the most successful season in school history as they posted an 8-2 record, won the Kaw Valley League championship and made a third straight trip to the Class 4A state playoffs.
A common theme runs through the signing class: position.
Four of them play on the offensive and defensive line, and the other two are linebackers.
Basehor had a high-powered offense that was led by senior quarterback Brandon Leppke, but Leppke frequently noted throughout the season that it was the guys up front who cleared the way for them. That included Nichols, Wynn, Ross and Shewmon.
Ross was a four-year starter at center for the Bobcats, and Wynn and Nichols also were mainstays in the starting lineup for most of their careers. All three are expected to play on the offensive line at Fort Scott.
Meanwhile, Shewmon thrived on the defensive side of the ball for the Bobcats and is expected to play a similar role for the Greyhounds.
“Fort Scott wanted our linemen,” Hopkins said. “They graduated all but two linemen, offensive and defensive, so they literally needed to replace as many as 20 linemen. They were really excited about some of our kids.”
Meanwhile, Potts played defensive end for the Bobcats and Shandy was a hard-hitting linebacker. Both are expected to contribute on the defensive side of the ball for Fort Scott, and Shandy also could see action as a wide receiver.
In addition to the talent the Bobcats will take with them to Fort Scott, Hopkins said the Greyhounds also were getting six intelligent football players that should slide into the Fort Scott system with relative ease.
Fort Scott runs defensive schemes that are almost a mirror image of what the Bobcats ran.
“Their line coach was one of the key recruiters, and he came by and said ‘coach, here are the plays we run. Your kids told us those are exactly the plays you run.’ It was right down the road. We run an odd front defensively, and they’re going to an odd front. In terms of blocking schemes, it’s almost a perfect fit. That was what really pleased them. This style of football that Fort Scott played this last year is almost identical to what we’ve done these last three or four years. Zach started four years, and for Zach that fit it perfectly.
“They did their homework. They went to schools that have the same kind of offense and defense. They’re not trying to put square pegs into round holes. Now whether they’ll be good enough is up to the kids, but they’re working hard in the weight room to go to that next level.”
Hopkins also credited BLHS strength and conditioning coach Ross Schwisow with helping the players develop enough physically to play at the college level.
“For our guys, honestly, we could send them the lifting results of just the power clean. That’s the one (college coaches) care about,” Hopkins said. “Power clean is an explosive, athletic lift. It’s an explosive, violent lift, which is what almost all actions in football are, and there’s no better coach in the greater Kansas City area teaching that than coach Schwisow.”
The six seniors were part of a class that made hard work a habit and helped turn Basehor-Linwood into a regional power. Hopkins said their effort was noticed by younger athletes in the program, which is why the entire football program was invited to witness the signing ceremony. It was a chance to congratulate the six on a major accomplishment, as well as to inspire the next generation of Bobcats who hope to play college football.
“We’ve got a lot of kids saying ‘I want to be the next Zach Ross,’” Hopkins said. “Several kids are asking for those kids’ (jersey) numbers, and that’s kind of neat because when you graduate 19 seniors, that’s a lot of numbers. They ask specifically ‘can I change to that number, because I want to be like him.’”