Miege takes advantage of Bobcat errors to eliminate BLHS, end successful senior class run

It wasn’t the best way for Rod Stallbaumer’s first, four-year class to go out, but the Basehor-Linwood High football coach still had plenty to be proud of Friday night.

As the blitzkrieg came to an end and the Bobcats found themselves on the end of another season-ending beating at the hands of perennial powerhouse Bishop Miege, the fourth-year head coach had time to reflect on his senior class and what they have given the program.

Despite a 58-6 first round, Class 4A-I defeat to No. 1 ranked Miege - part Thor, part the rest of the Avengers - the Bobcats (7-3) never gave up despite being undone by three defensive touchdowns by the Stags in the first half en route to a 52-0 deficit at the break.

The Class of 2018 Bobcats was the first for the program to be a part of four winning varsity seasons. They completed a run from wide-eyed freshmen to stalwart seniors with a combined 32-12 record including last year’s record-breaking 11-1 run to the Class 4A-I title. They won two district titles and one Kaw Valley League, regional and sectional crown each.

Not bad.

“That first class, first group of guys you got to watch grow up over the years and they are a good group of kids that stuck it out,” Stallbaumer said. “It was a group that you could see each year get better. They bought into the program and what we asked them to do and got better each year. To have six shutouts (this season) and a 7-3 year to make the playoffs is a testament to how hard they worked.

“They were a lot of very, very good leaders in this class and they have done just a great job establishing what it means to be a Bobcat football player and set the team standards. The freshman now when they get here, they see how it is supposed to be and learn it much faster. Now freshmen come in and know how to act and what to do and everything goes a lot smoother than it did four years ago.”

In the first quarter, the Bobcats thwarted an early scoring attempt by Miege, forcing a fumble after a long Stags’ pass play to gain possession.

Yet, two plays later they gave back their mojo with a fumble of their own and Basehor would watch the Stags punch it in from the BLHS 15 moments later for a lead they would never relinquish.

“The score wasn’t what we wanted it to be - that’s a good football team there - and I felt like our kids played hard and didn’t give up,” Stallbaumer said. “We had too many self-inflicted errors and you can’t do that against a team that good. We had some silly penalties and some 50-50 balls we didn’t come down with and fumbles that hurt us field-position wise. You play a team that is that good and plays that efficiently, you just can’t make those kind of mistakes.”

Basehor would battle to the best of its ability, but Miege, a team bathed in the battles of the Eastern Kansas League gauntlet, were too fast, too strong, too everything and that was enough.

The Bobcats did get some relief when senior quarterback J.C. Watson scored on a 11-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-8 play with 4:40 left in the game.

BLHS finished with 139 yards of total offense, with running back Nolan Ford going for 53 yards on 19 carries.

“We didn’t have a consistency or a rhythm (on offense all season),” Stallbaumer said. “We brought in a lot of new guys and never got up to speed. We will have a lot of guys back so hopefully we will have a lot of returning starters and get after it next year.”