Bobcats battle past Jaguars, win KVL title
The district playoffs were still a week away, but Basehor-Linwood and Mill Valley were in playoff mode for their football showdown Friday night at BLHS.
At stake was the Kaw Valley League championship, and the Jaguars and Bobcats delivered enough defensive highlights and big-play touchdowns to ensure the outcome was in doubt until the final seconds ticked off the clock.
In the end, Basehor prevailed, 39-34, and won its second straight league title.
The greater prize, BLHS coach Steve Hopkins said, was the improvement that both squads made just in time for district play.
“I just told three of their coaches, ‘That made us both a whole lot better,’” Hopkins said moments after the game ended. “I’m sorry for their part of it that they have the ‘L,’ but it made them a better team, and I certainly believe this made us a better team.”
Despite the loss, first-year MVHS coach Joel Applebee agreed.
“The atmosphere tonight … it was a playoff-type atmosphere,” Applebee said of the raucous, standing-room-only crowd on both sides of the stadium.
There was plenty of good from both squads Friday night as they produced a dandy of a contest for the spectators.
The first half was a defensive struggle, while the second half was a shootout.
Basehor’s opening drive ended when Justice Oehlert picked off a Colin Murphy pass and returned it near midfield. The Jaguars promptly drove 56 yards on eight plays — three of them passes to Dylan Floyd — before quarterback Skyler Windmiller tucked the ball and dashed 10 yards to the end zone. Mark Biesma’s extra point made it 7-0 with 6:29 left in the first quarter.
Basehor answered on its next drive as it drove 72 yards on six plays. A 27-yard completion from Colin Murphy to Ryan Murphy, followed by a 33-yard scamper by Colin Murphy, took care of most of the yardage. Colin Murphy then scored on a 2-yard keeper up the middle. The 2-point conversion failed, but the Bobcats were within 7-6 with 4:27 left in the opening quarter.
After trading punts, Mill Valley’s third drive ended when Skyler Ross picked off a Windmiller pass, but the Bobcats quickly went three-and-out. Mill Valley took advantage of the punt and crafted its second scoring drive of the half. This time, the Jaguars went 52 yards on nine plays and scored on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Windmiller to Staton Rebeck.
Mill Valley’s 14-6 lead didn’t last long. Basehor scored two minutes later. First, Colin Murphy lofted a 35-yard bomb to Ben Johnson. Then, Murphy scrambled for a 26-yard pickup before Jesse Hiss powered into the end zone from 7 yards out. The conversion attempt failed and the Bobcats pulled within 14-12.
BLHS nearly scored again in the closing seconds of the half, but Colin Murphy’s pass was picked off by Jake Theis in the end zone.
Basehor opened the second half with an onside kick. Dalton Mellies recovered it, and six plays later the Bobcats were in the end zone as Colin Murphy connected with Ryan Murphy for a 14-yard touchdown. The conversion failed, but BLHS led 18-14 barely two minutes into the second half.
Mill Valley scored just over two minutes later on a 10-yard pass from Windmiller to Colin Wistuba. The extra point sailed wide to the right, but MVHS took a 20-18 lead.
Basehor struck back with an 80-yard touchdown drive. Colin Murphy scattered passes to four different receivers on the drive, but his primary target — twin brother Ryan Murphy — ended the drive with a 23-yard catch on a fly pattern down the right sideline. Garret Kahle ran for the 2-point conversion and gave BLHS a 26-20 lead with 4:55 left in the third quarter.
The Jaguars struck again just 1:18 later when Biesma made a leaping catch for a 42-yard touchdown. Wistuba threw to Jeremy Spalding for the 2-point conversion, and Mill Valley was back on top, 28-26, with 3:37 left in the quarter.
Again, Basehor answered. This time the Bobcats put together a 12-play, 79-yard drive that lasted more than four minutes. They shook things up a bit by moving Colin Murphy to receiver and inserting Tanner Garver at quarterback. The lineup gave BLHS three big receivers — Johnson and the Murphy twins — and the drive ended with Garver finding Colin Murphy for a 19-yard touchdown. That put BLHS ahead, 32-28, early in the fourth quarter.
The BLHS defense forced Mill Valley into a three-and-out, and then the Bobcats went back to work on offense. After a mix of runs by Colin Murphy, Jesse Hiss and Steyr Stubenrauch, the Bobcats pulled out a trick play. Colin Murphy threw a backwards pass to Nathan Quigley on the left side. Quigley then fired to a wide-open Ryan Murphy in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown. Kahle kicked the extra point for a 39-28 lead, but the game was far from over.
Mill Valley turned the ball over on downs, but it got the ball back one play later after a BLHS fumble.
MVHS promptly drove down and scored on a 2-yard pass from Windmiller to Ethan Rice. The 2-point conversion failed, but the Jaguars were within 39-34 with 3:01 to go.
The Jaguars recovered an onside kick moments later, but Colin Murphy picked off Windmiller to secure the victory.
Ryan Murphy finished with 13 catches for 196 yards and three touchdowns.
Colin Murphy was the biggest player in the biggest KVL game of the season as he had passing, rushing and receiving touchdowns in addition to making an interception. He completed 16 of 28 passes for 249 yards and two TDs. He also ran 14 times for 126 yards and a touchdown, and he had a 19-yard touchdown catch.
Basehor improved to 6-0 with the victory and wrapped up a second straight league title, but the Bobcats still have work to do.
“Winning league is great, but that’s not our goal,” Colin Murphy said. “We want to win our district and make a run in the playoffs.”
BLHS will open district play at 7 p.m. Friday at Jefferson County West.