BLHS to step up to Miege

On a cold, brutal night almost a year ago, the Basehor-Linwood Bobcats football saw a dream season put on ice by super power program Bishop Miege.

The 52-0 defeat to the Stags in the Class 4A-I sub-state final and playoff semifinal was not the ideal way to wrap an 11-1 campaign that saw many firsts.

A year later, the Bobcats once again will enter the 4A-I playoffs coming off a solid if not spectacular season, wrapping up the pre-playoff campaign with a 7-2 mark with losses to Bonner Springs last month and unbeaten Tonganoxie a week ago, 10-3.

BLHS and Bishop Miege will kick things off in Shawnee Friday at 7 p.m. as the Bobcats will once again face their biggest foil.

“Miege is ranked No. 1 in the state and have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball,” BLHS head coach Rod Stallbaumer said. “They are playing with a lot of confidence. We will have to match their physicality and be the aggressor in order to have success. Defensively they don’t take risks. They are able to sit back in a base defense and force you to string together long drives to beat them. Offensively they are very balanced, they have explosive playmakers all over the field and a quarterback that can get them the ball.”

Basehor-Linwood won’t be coming into the contest with any big momentum following last week’s defeat in the final slate of Kaw Valley League games ever.

Tonganoxie won the slugfest to end the KVL-version of a longstanding rivalry.

“It was a heck of a battle between two very good teams,” Stallbaumer said. “We knew that Tonganoxie was a good football team. They have always played us tough so we knew it would be a very physical, difficult game. I was extremely proud of how hard our kids played. We struggled to get into second and manageable situations offensively and Tonganoxie’s defense won the line of scrimmage.    

“Our defense played very well. They kept us in it and we were right there with a chance at the end. We just didn’t execute when we needed to.”

They will need to execute even better against the Stags who present plenty of challenges.

“That is always the biggest thing when you play a perennial power regardless of who it is: playing with confidence,” Stallbaumer said. “Teams who are continually successful don’t get as stressed. They play more aggressive because of that confidence and as a result become very hard to beat. I don't know if last year’s game will affect our team going into this season or not. I know that we feel like we competed against them especially in the first quarter last year before injuries and a couple of mistakes took their toll but this is a new season and a new team.   

“We also played them this summer in 7-on-7 and competed very well there as well. Hopefully the more comfortable we get playing them will minimize that advantage.”