BLHS football has dominated during 3-0 start to 2017; LHS, PR look for big wins

We move south this week for the Leavenworth Times’ Game of the Week as it’s time to take a look at how things shape up going forward for the Basehor-Linwood Bobcats heading into homecoming night.

Through three games, BLHS hasn’t allowed a point, outscoring opponents 173-0. The Bobcats come into Friday’s 7 p.m. homecoming contest against Independence on the heels of a 63-0 rout of Turner.

“I feel like we are making progress offensively though we still have a lot of work to do. We are just starting to play with the kind of confidence and aggressiveness we need to be effective,” BLHS head coach Rod Stallbaumer said. “We took care of the ball much better (against Piper), winning the turnover battle 5-0, which was a positive. Defensively, we have been very solid. We have tried as a staff to be really nit-picking in film and point out areas that we must improve and really stress with the team that we are less concerned with the score but more in doing things correctly. We feel the kids have been very receptive to that. We must get better to get to where we want to be at the end of the season and our guys understand that.”

Independence comes in at 1-2 following a 56-50 win at Parsons a week ago and has a penchant for giving up points, allowing 49 per game.

Last year, BLHS routed the Bulldogs 46-6 at Independence.

“Independence is a young team. They lost almost everyone off of a really good team a year ago,” Stallbaumer said. “They are playing a lot of sophomores so we expect them to be making big improvements each week and we saw that on film. They looked a lot better in their win over Parsons in week three and we expect them to come out and play even better against us.   

“They will be a run-based team that runs a heavy dose of traps and misdirection which are two things we haven't seen a great deal of so far this season. It will force our secondary to be patient and disciplined in their reads and force our defensive line to be disciplined as well. They run a 3-3 stack defense and are capable of bringing pressure from a lot of different places so we will need to communicate well on the offensive line to handle that.”   

For a team that was to rely on its defense until the Bobcat offense figured things out, they have done quite well so far on both sides of the ball and its frightening to think they can get better.

“I would say we are about where we expected to be at this point in the season,” Stallbaumer said. “Defensively we have probably been a little better than expectations coming in but it's still early. We will learn a lot more about our team in the next few weeks but I think we are in a good spot. As long as we continue to work hard, do the little things right and improve each week, we will put ourselves in a position to have success.”

Lansing (1-2) at Piper (0-3), 7 p.m.

A year ago, the Lansing Lions peaked with an awesome display on both sides of the ball, leading 42-0 by halftime in a 56-14 rout over Piper.

Now the Pirates will hope to turn the tables and get a win over a Lions’ team that feels it may have let one get away in a 29-20 home defeat to Shawnee Mission North.

“We were excited how our players stayed in the game and competed throughout,” Lansing head coach John McCall said. “We continue to experience untimely turnovers, which forces us to play from behind. Our team is focusing on eliminating turnovers. After the game Friday, we reflected on all the positive outcomes that occurred in spite of five turnovers in the first half. Our team is confident that taking care of the football will lend to positive results in the win column.”

Despite Piper’s struggles, Lansing enters the fray wary.

“Piper has a strong and physical group of varsity players,” McCall said. “Their film shows a team that executes well despite their record to begin this season. Our team knows from this week’s preparation that we are in for a physical contest Friday.”

The Lions have a chance to go .500 as the campaign moves into the second half of the season.

“Obviously, our players are disappointed with a 1-2 start,” McCall said. “They feel as if they allowed two games to slip away. The key for this team is to focus on our strengths from the first three games and strive to correct the mistakes. We now play five consecutive (Kaw Valley) League games, and Piper is our focus. Our players are doing a great job of getting ready for this week’s game and not dwelling on any past or future events.”

McLouth (0-3) at Pleasant Ridge (0-3), 7 p.m.

Two teams that had high hopes entering the season will now focus on getting their first win in 2017 when McLouth invades Easton.

Pleasant Ridge will try to bounce back from a 57-20 defeat at Jefferson County North.

“We played much better offensively and were able to sustain drives and score, which was a major problem in the first two weeks of the season,” PRHS head coach Patrick McCollim said. “Our major issue last week was our special teams play. We gave up a punt return and kick return for a touchdown, had a punt blocked and gave our defense miserable field position all night. We have worked hard at addressing this issue and I am confident it will not be an issue but an advantage in the future.”

McLouth entered the year with a veteran corps that had come off of a solid 4-5 year but has been outscored 123-36 in three lopsided defeats.   

“McLouth is a team that has been playing young kids for a couple years now and will have plenty of experience on the field,” McCollim said. “We must be assignment and fundamentally sound on both sides of the ball and special teams to win this game. They have a very mobile quarterback who runs hard. We must contain him.”

Pleasant Ridge’s offense has also struggled but has shown improvement each week. Now, the Rams need to keep building as the season progresses.  

“Despite the rough start to the season we have shown improvement each week,” McCollim said. “We must be sure to focus on every aspect of the game and not allow one part to beat us as it did last week. We are a very young team that has had to recover from some injuries with some of our older, more experienced players and I believe these young kids are starting to settle into playing varsity football and will continue to show improvement from week to week.   

“We have had a day-by-day approach since June, and we will continue that approach, work hard every day, and eventually we will play to the potential we have.”