Aim to ease the hurt, Lansing, BLHS face off after big defeats

Regular season dominance came to a spectacular end for one team while another is still trying to find the answers to its offensive, and in turn, winning ills.

A week ago, the Basehor-Linwood Bobcats (4-1) saw their 14-game regular season winning streak dating back to late in the 2015 season, and its four-game shutout streak this campaign come to an unceremonious end with a shock, 33-21 home loss to Kaw Valley League (KVL) rivals Bonner Springs.

At the same time, the Lansing Lions lost for the fourth time in five-games with a disappointing 37-3 homecoming defeat at the hands of unbeaten Tonganoxie in another KVL showdown.

Now, two wounded teams will play their final game as KVL opponents before beginning the next chapter in the rivalry in 2018 as members of the new United Kansas Conference.

It all adds up to a Basehor-Linwood, Lansing contest meant to be the Leavenworth Times’ Game of the Week.

“Lansing is very athletic, they have switched to a spread offense and feature the quarterback run game with two very athletic quarterbacks they rotate in,” BLHS head coach Rod Stallbaumer said. “They have added some perimeter screens to go along with their wing-t blocking schemes from a shotgun set.  Defensively, they have some very strong interior tackles and good speed on the outside.  Their linebackers are aggressive and pursue to the ball well.  Special teams-wise, they have a really nice kicker capable of making field goals and kicking touchbacks that help them win field position.”

Lansing head coach John McCall expects what could be a rainy night to provide plenty of challenges via Mother Nature and the Bobcats.

“(Basehor-Linwood) plays aggressive defense, is sound in the kicking game and multiple on offense,” McCall said. “Their best run game is counter trey, inside zone and ISO.  They execute perimeter and inside screens along with rub concepts in the passing game.  Field position will be a factor Friday evening as we are expecting some bad weather.  The ability to throw the football will be key.  If the passing game is altered due to weather, expect heavier formations and more run game.”

The Bobcats could come in with a bit of a chip on their shoulder after last week’s beating at the hands of the Braves and knowing that Lansing represents the final game before 4A-I District 1 play begins.

“First you have to give credit to Bonner Springs: They came in focused and determined and played very well,” Stallbaumer said. “We didn't play very well.  We talk every week about our three keys to victory: ball security, physicality and discipline.  Last week we had six turnovers, got outplayed physically on the perimeter and were not very disciplined in our option responsibilities.  We didn't play with the kind of focus necessary to beat good teams.  Hopefully it was a game that we learn from and make some big improvements going forward.

“We must continue to get better each week. This time of year, the teams that separate are the ones that can continue to improve.  We still have a lot of season left and we can't let one loss turn into two.  Hopefully we have a motivated team that has learned the lessons you get taught in a loss.”  

Lansing is seeded 13th in the Class 5A East playoff standings and a win against a winning program – and a chance to exact revenge for last year’s 45-9 beating by the Bobcats – are plenty of motivation to bounce back from the defeat to Tongie.

“Last week’s result was frustrating for everyone,” McCall said. “The team is eager to get back on the field Friday.  Last week, we encountered too many mistakes to compete on the scoreboard.  We are mostly concerned with our point production.  We have to score more points.

“As we enter the next third of the season, our goal is to play a clean and complete game.  We look forward to the challenge this Friday and are eager to watch our kids compete.”

Shawnee Mission North (1-4) at Leavenworth (2-3), 7 p.m.

Homecoming night will have more at stake at Leavenworth High than making festivities fit for an alum.

The Pioneers are now in a situation that a win on the football team is imperative as an exciting 2-0 start to the season could devolve into a tougher, first-round playoff game, three weeks from now.

LVHS currently is the No. 12 seed in the Class 5A East standings and a win Friday against North could go a long way of helping bump the Pioneers closer to a potential home field game in that initial postseason round.

Another loss against a sub. 500 team and the Pioneers could end up securing its playoff fate against a top-notch opponent on the road.

“Shawnee Mission North is an opponent that we are very capable of beating, however, they are also an opponent that we must play great at all phases of the game,” LVHS head coach Mark Littrell said. “Shawnee Mission North has a very talented offense that is capable of moving the football, they have been like us where they go through stages and make critical mistakes that ruins their momentum.

“Defensively, Shawnee Mission North will play a 3-3 stack defense and try to bring pressure on all plays.  Their stack linebackers are pretty good and create a lot of pressure with their movements.”

LVHS come into the contest off of a disappointing 49-9 home loss to Olathe Northwest and before that, a 35-7 loss to Shawnee Mission South, who beat Shawnee Mission North, 22-19.

“We need to work each day at getting better at our positions,” Littrell said. “We need to always remain focused on all plays and in all situations, especially on special teams.

“We need to continue to improve in the basics of football, blocking and tackling.”

Pleasant Ridge (1-4) at Oskaloosa (3-2), 7 p.m.

With one week left before district play begins and the Pleasant Ridge Rams begin their Class 3A playoff push in earnest, it would be great if they could move to that next stage building on a positive.

The Rams travel to Oskaloosa, not only hoping to get payback for a 28-6 loss in Easton a year ago, but to also bounce back from a 38-22 loss to Jayhawk-Linn last week and win a second game in three weeks.

A year ago, the Rams entered district play on the heels of a 5-game losing streak, so already they are in a better way than in the 2016 season at this same point.

Now another win can another help even more.

“They run an offense that you must be disciplined against and do your job or they will run on you all night.” Pleasant Ridge head coach Patrick McCollim said of the Bears. “Defensively they have a very athletic secondary who can play the pass and the run. Again we will have to be disciplined with our assignments to have success.”

The loss last week, against an unbeaten J-Linn team, did bring back some good returns.

“We played a strong first half, very poor third quarter, then finished strong in the fourth,” McCollim said. “We were able to stop the run game that we scouted and prepared for, they made and adjustment that we didn't react well to and it hurt is. We passed the ball much better and threw for 295 yards, but we must be able to make plays earlier in games. “I think our issues mainly stem from experience. As I have said before, we are playing lots of young kids who are improving each week, but there are some things that just take varsity game time to get better at, I think that is the situation we find ourselves in at the moment.”

The Rams need fixing and thankfully there is time for that.

“We need to be able to make in game adjustments and execute them,” McCollim said. “We are good team at playing against what we practice, but we must be able to make in game adjustments and execute those adjustments.”