Basehor-Linwood football squad stumbles against Sumner
Basehor-Linwood football players struggled to make sense of a season-ending loss Tuesday night to Sumner Academy.
They had fought so hard to rally in the third quarter, but still came up short in a 36-22 loss at home.
Basehor-Linwood, which had rolled through the regular season undefeated, won a Kaw Valley League title and district crown, had fallen short in the Class 4A state playoff bi-district game.
The Bobcats didn’t collectively have enough to match Sumner Academy and move on in the playoffs.
“It was a great regular season, and it hurts so bad because of that,” coach Steve Hopkins said.
He also credited Sumner Academy.
“They beat us,” Hopkins said to his team while searching for the right words in the moments after the game. “We weren’t good enough tonight as a team.”
He said there were things he could do better as a coach. Then he paused.
As he spoke to the team, he tried to comfort a group of young men who were hurting and having difficulty believing the bright lights of fall had dimmed for another year.
He talked about the group of players and what they meant to him. He talked about the relationships the young men had as a group.
When he was finished, players began to disperse.
Then a player, tears in his eyes, called his teammates back together. They had forgotten to huddle.
“Break it down one more time,” he said. “Let’s get loud.”
The Bobcats gathered in the huddle and went through with the familiar chant before breaking the huddle.
Freshman and sophomores helped clean up the field. Seniors met with Hopkins individually, and others just sat on the ground.
Maybe they just needed a moment to put it all into perspective and recover from a wild game and a second-half rally that came up short.
BLHS dug itself a 16-0 halftime deficit by allowing the Sabres to get away with too many big plays during the first half.
The Sabres scored on their first drive of the second quarter when Benny Parker broke an 82-yard touchdown run. Sumner completed the 2-point conversion when Armand Brisbane connected with Vernon Vaughn for the score.
The Bobcats put together a long drive on the ensuing possession, moving the ball down the field with the run. On the drive, Ryan Murphy made an incredible run. He looked to be tackled but was laying on his back on top of a tackler. He hopped up and scampered down to the 10-yard line. The Bobcats looked like they were going to march in for the score.
On the next play, though, Steyr Stubenrauch fumbled the football and Sumner recovered it.
The two teams traded punts on their next possessions, and Basehor-Linwood’s offense failed to get much going. Quarterback Colin Murphy threw four consecutive incomplete passes and the Sabres took control of the ball. The Sabres’ secondary blanked Bobcats receivers throughout the first half. Colin Murphy completed just four of 15 passes for 32 yards.
The Sabres scored again on the next drive. This time after picking up first downs on the ground, Brisbane hit wide receiver Marcus Allen for a 60-yard touchdown. Tyrone Battles rushed in for the 2-point conversion, and Sumner led 16-0 at intermission.
Scoring was limited in the first half, but not in the third quarter. A wild series of events — including numerous turnovers — led to BLHS scoring three times in eight minutes.
First, the Sabres recovered an onside kick to start the third quarter and with a short field scored a touchdown with a 39-yard pass from quarterback Brisbane to Vaughn. That gave Sumner a 24-0 lead just two minutes into the third quarter.
Then the Bobcats caught fire.
On the next possession, Ben Johnson caught a pair of passes, including an 18-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt was good on a pass to Johnson.
On the next play, Destry Bryan kicked a tumbling soccer-type ball that rolled near sideline at the 10-yard line. The ball was touched by a Sumner player and fumbled. Miles Brown recovered the ball for the Bobcats.
With the ball deep inside Sumner Academy territory, the Bobcats failed to score on the possession. Basehor-Linwood struggled inside the red zone throughout the season, Hopkins said and it hurt them against Sumner.
After failing to score, the Bobcats’ defense held the Sabres and got the ball back at the BLHS 44-yard line.
On fourth and long, Hopkins elected to try for the first down. He called a reverse pass and converted. On the play, Colin Murphy, lined up in the slot position, was pitched the ball and threw it to Tanner Garver who was wide open and ran the ball for a 20-yard gain.
BLHS later scored on a 29-yard pass to Johnson. The 2-point conversion was good when Colin Murphy rushed in for the score.
Again, Basehor-Linwood’s defense came up big on the next possession. Sumner fumbled on its first play from scrimmage. Vaughn caught the ball and was stripped of it. Nathan Quigley recovered the ball.
From there, the Bobcats rushed the ball six times and scored on a 1-yard run by Jesse Hiss. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, and the score was 24-22 at the end of the third quarter.
“We started coming back and we thought we had them,” Johnson said. “They just kept throwing the ball up and making plays.”
The Bobcats would get no closer.
Sumner was driving when the third quarter ended and scored two plays into the fourth quarter on a 19-yard pass from Brisbane to Vaughn. The extra point attempt failed and the score was 30-22.
The Bobcats turned the ball over on downs the next possession.
Sumner drove the field and scored on a 24-yard from Brisbane to Parker. The 2-point conversion failed, but the score was 36-22.
BLHS threw an interception on its next possession and soon ran out of time.
“We had two opportunities to tie the game and did not score,” Hopkins said. “We had five opportunities inside the 20 and did not score tonight. Give credit to them, they beat us. They made plays in all phases of the game.”
BLHS ended its season with a 9-1 record — a school-record for wins in a season. Sumner improved to 9-1 and will play Baldwin on Saturday.