Balanced Bobcats dominate Jeff West in district opener
Basehor-Linwood parents, students and followers traveled more than an hour to see the Kaw Valley League champs play on Friday night.
They weren’t disappointed.
Basehor-Linwood started Class 4A district play with a 35-12 victory at Jefferson County West.
In the process, Basehor-Linwood avenged last season’s playoff loss to Jeff West and improved to 7-0 on the season.
The key to the game was that Jeff West entered the game wanting to play a physical style of football. The Bobcats were able to handle that style of play and force the Tigers into more of a spread offense, which played into the Bobcats’ plans.
“We knew they played a different style of football,” coach Steve Hopkins said. “To be honest, we met the physical challenge. Then, they had to spread the field and we feel that plays more to our strength.”
Yes, it was a strong night for the Bobcats’ defense, which held Jeff West to just 12 points.
“That is a good ball club,” Hopkins said. “They had that 60-yard run and other than that, not many first downs. They punted a lot. They punted six to eight times. We made them punt, not where they could go for it on fourth down.”
On offense, the Bobcats featured the Murphy brothers in the passing game and a pair of running backs who helped the Bobcats rush for 300 yards. Colin Murphy threw for 182 yards. He ran for a touchdown and tossed two touchdowns to twin brother Ryan Murphy.
Receiving wise, Ryan Murphy had five catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The Bobcats also had two 100-yard rushers. Steyr Stubenrauch rushed for 178 yards on 26 carries. Jesse Hiss carried the ball 17 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Basehor-Linwood controlled the game from the beginning, scoring first on a 10-yard touchdown run by Colin Murphy.
Later in the quarter, the Murphy twins connected for a 27-yard touchdown pass.
Following the score, Jeff West put together a sustained drive and scored a touchdown. The score was 13-6 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Murphys paired up again for a 13-yard touchdown pass. They also connected on the 2-point conversion.
Basehor-Linwood scored again on a 1-yard run by Hiss. Hiss carried the ball and battled through Jeff West defenders for the touchdown.
Jeff West broke a 60-yard run on its next play and scored another touchdown. The score was 28-12.
Following the drive, Basehor-Linwood put a long possession together that took most of the fourth quarter. Finally, the team turned the ball over on downs at the 8-yard line and then got the ball back a few plays later.
With the ball back, the Bobcats marched down the field and scored on a 13-yard touchdown run by Hiss. The three drives took the majority of the fourth quarter.
After the game, Hopkins praised Jeff West, saying that although the team is 3-4, all the losses have come to teams who are undefeated. He said it was good for his team to go on the road and get a win. He also said it was a critical victory as his team attempts to advance through district play and into the state playoffs.
“The nice thing is to win the district you do not have to win all three games, but if you win all of your games in district then you are district champs and you don’t have to worry about anything else,” he said.
Following the win, the Bobcats made the bus ride back to BLHS with thoughts of next week’s opponent, Tonganoxie, and dreams of the season alive. Players could enjoy the victory that included a combination of stifling defense and a balanced offense.
In general, it was a happy mood on the bus, Hopkins said.
“Yeah, a lot better than others,” he said.
Basehor-Linwood plays Tonganoxie on Friday in the second of three district games. THS lost 55-35 to Perry-Lecompton in its district opener.