Atchison survived a scare at Basehor-Linwood but rallied against the Bobcats for a 25-20 win, taking control of their district with one week remaining in the regular season. The win also preserves Atchison’s undefeated season.
Running back Parker Welch scored the go-ahead touchdown with just over two minutes to play, when he pounded it in from one yard out. Welch was the first Atchison player other than senior quarterback Wykeen Gill to cross the goal line.
Gill had another impressive game with more than 200 yards total offense. He scored three rushing touchdowns and also, at times, made some stellar defensive plays.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Atchison coach Jim Smith said. “They have a heck of a team. In the second half, our team stepped up.”
After Welch’s score, Atchison’s defense held strong. The Bobcats made it into opposing territory with less than a minute to play. But on 4th and 14, Basehor-Linwood quarterback Justin Phillips threw up a wobbly desperation heave that was intercepted by James Boatwright.
“At times, we played not to lose. They played more aggressive than we did, and when they did they were a good team,” Basehor-Linwood coach Rod Stallbaumer said.
Both teams were aggressive early.
Atchison scored on the game’s opening drive, moving 80 yards in 11 plays. Gill capped it off with a 5-yard scramble to the right pylon.
“He [Gill] makes play-calling easy. He is so dynamic and wants to have the ball in his hands,” Smith said.
Basehor-Linwood responded on their opening drive with a thrilling 71-yard drive. The big play: a 35-yard touchdown toss from Phillips to Eric Scott on fourth down.
After forcing Atchison to punt, the Bobcats took the lead when Chas Rollo broke off a 41-yard touchdown, electrifying the crowd. Rollo led Basehor-Linwood with 73 yards rushing on 8 carries.
“We have good skill position guys and we try to stretch it out. We had guys step up tonight. Justin [Phillips] spreads the ball around to our playmakers,” Stallbaumer said.
Atchison responded just before the half with a 10-play drive that ate up nearly five minutes of the second quarter. Gill, again, called his number and ran in from 10 yards out. The extra point was blocked, though, so Basehor-Linwood went into halftime with a scant 14-13 lead.
Despite that score, Smith said it hadn’t been a good half for his undefeated team.
“We had penalties: you know, gain 12, go back 15. We got caught in some misdirection and overran our tackles. Didn’t contain them. Got to work on that before next week.”
Atchison took the lead early in the third quarter, taking advantage of a short field. A 48-yard drive took four plays, aided by a Bobcat penalty. Gill ran it in from 2 yards out and Atchison was up 19-14.
“They kept the ball for a long time and didn’t allow us to get in a rhythm,”Stallbaumer said.
But Basehor-Linwood found a rhythm on a 9-play drive in the fourth quarter. Again, it was Phillips in the end finding an open receiver. This time it was Nick Fisher for a 13-yard score. A failed two-point conversion kept it a 20-19 game.
“Justin is a good quarterback. He’s matured a lot. Still has some work. When he’s on, he’s pretty good,” Stallbaumer said.
It would, however, be a Phillips fumble later in the quarter that set up Atchison’s game-winning score. And give Welch a chance to keep Atchison’s undefeated season going.
Atchison plays Piper next week to wrap up district play. They have guaranteed themselves the title with this week’s win. Basehor-Linwood will play Tonganoxie.