Wristen: Bobcats still team to beat for KVL title
Twenty seniors graduated from last year’s Kaw Valley League champion Basehor-Linwood football team.
Four-year starting quarterback Brandon Leppke graduated, as did most of the starting offensive line. A few top receivers graduated, and Leppke was the team’s leading rusher.
Talk about a doomsday scenario — only it wasn’t.
The Bobcats proved during their 42-26 victory Friday against Piper that they remain the team to beat in the KVL.
All of those key pieces to the puzzle that graduated remarkably have been replaced thanks to a combination of talent and offseason commitment to improvement.
The Bobcats lost so much from last year’s team, but they seemingly haven’t lost a step.
Quarterback Colin Murphy threw for more than 350 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver Ryan Murphy had three touchdowns and 184 receiving yards. Steyr Stubenrauch had a 79-yard touchdown reception where he did most of the work with his legs after the catch.
It’s only one game, of course. There is plenty more football to be played, but it was a statement victory in every way for BLHS.
The bull’s eye is securely attached to the Bobcats’ back, but they aren’t the only squad who made an impressive debut on Friday.
Tonganoxie — a team that finished the 2009 season strong and narrowly missed advancing to the playoffs in the Bobcats’ district — slaughtered Bishop Ward, 54-6. The Chieftains scored just 20 seconds into the first quarter, led 14-0 after three minutes and held a 40-6 halftime advantage.
Clearly the Chieftains have built off of last year’s solid finish and have positioned themselves as a serious league contender.
And lets not forget Lansing, which had a disappointing 2009 campaign but kicked off this season with a thrilling 28-27 victory at Mill Valley. MVHS began the season — and remains — as one of the favorites to win a league championship, so this victory secured Lansing’s place in the discussion.
Then there are Bonner Springs and Turner. Both programs opened their season against extremely difficult non-league opponents. Both teams lost but had the opportunity to make some mistakes and figure some things out without it costing them in the KVL standings. BSHS and Turner open league play this week, so we will get our first look at how they stack up.
Still, for the time being at least, the road to the Kaw Valley League championship goes through Basehor.