Basehor-Linwood makes a statement
By Stephen Bubalo PrepsKC staff writer
The Basehor-Linwood Bobcats are finally able to breathe a sigh of relief.
After two straight years of getting bounced from the Kansas Class 4A playoffs in the first round, the Bobcats were able to get past that hurdle this year with a dominating 49-6 home win over Hiawatha tonight.
“We finally got that monkey off our back,” Bobcat senior Jesse Hiss said.
Hiss was a big part of the offensive success Tuesday night, as he returned to the backfield for the first time in several weeks after recovering from a high ankle sprain.
The Bobcat running game controlled things, picking up big chunks of yards on seemingly every carry, while quaterback Colin Murphy and the passing game did its part as well.
Together, they helped Basehor-Linwood take a 42-0 lead early in the second quarter.
“Starting well was key,” Bobcats head coach Steve Hopkins said. “Last week our first three plays were poor. Tonight, we had a big pass play on our third play and everyone was able to take a deep breath. We really focused on starting well.”
The defense was just as impressive as the offense, forcing two turnovers in the early going that they turned into touchdowns, while allowing just a handful of first downs.
“Defensively, we had a good plan,” Hopkins said. “Number 88 (running back Denzel Chilcoat) was the key to everything. We had to make the rest of their team try and beat us.”
The Bobcats had a purpose in routing Hiawatha, and it wasn’t just to reach the next round and one step closer to a state title.
“We wanted to make a statement to the state of Kansas,” Hiss said. “We mean business this year.”
Hiss and the rest of his teammates feel like they’ve got something special in the works and they’re a determined bunch after seeing their hopes dashed so early the last two seasons.
But this is a different team, a more experienced team, and a team that has been through the ups and downs of a football season together.
“A lot of us seniors have played together for a long time,” Hiss said. “We have great chemistry. We’re all brothers and we win and lose together. We’ve felt what it’s like to lose and we don’t ever want to feel that again.”
Hopkins said the top 40 players on this year’s team are juniors and seniors, something he said he’s never had before. That experience is probably a big reason why the Bobcats came into this season so focused.
“In November of last year they began lifting for this game,” Hopkins said. “Their focus has been in place since last November.”
Basehor’s focus will turn to Eudora now, who improved to 9-1 with a 12-0 win over DeSoto.
Hopkins said the Cardinals are a physical team that likes to run the ball and play solid defense. They’ve allowed about 10 points per game this season and have four shutouts to their credit.
With that in mind, the return of Hiss to the backfield came at just the right time.
“It’s good to have Jesse at about 80 percent healthy right now,” Hopkins said. “It makes our offense so effective because we’ve got two big backs with him and Drew (Potter).”
The fourth-ranked Bobcats will without a doubt be the favorites Saturday night at 7 p.m. when they take their home field against the Cardinals, but they know all too well that nothing is guaranteed come playoff time.
“We have to take things one game at a time and not look ahead,” Hiss said. “We feel like we have the chance to do something special.”
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