The Basehor-Linwood Bobcats look to continue their playoff run on Friday when they host Paola in the sectionals.
Both teams enter the game a 9-1 on the year. The Panthers are coming off a 35-13 win over Tonganoxie. The Bobcats took care of Fort Scott 31-14 last week.
The Bobcats jumped out to an early lead last week before Fort Scott cut the lead to 17-14 in the third period. Not being able to capitalize on turnovers kept the Bobcats from pulling away. After the game, head coach Rod Stallbaumer said he thought the players were excited and it led to them being tight at times. The coach said he is confident it will be fixed for this game.
“We discussed what we felt were some of the issues last week,” Stallbaumer said. “And I’m confident that we will play better this week.”
With the Bobcats being the No. 2 seed, the senior class, which broke the record for most wins by a class earlier this year, could be playing in the final home game of their high school careers. Stallbaumer said that hasn’t been a focus of the team and the attention has been on the game instead.
“We haven’t talked much about the last home game aspect,” Stallbaumer said. “But our team is aware that every game may be your last this time of year and that we must come out and give full effort and leave no regrets. I have been pleased with our focus and effort so far this week.”
Along with entering at 9-1, the two football teams also enter with common opponents. Both were victorious over Fort Scott, Tonganoxie and Eudora. Stallbaumer said he doesn’t know if that makes a difference.
“I don’t know if common opponents matter a whole lot other than they have probably had a chance to see us on film more often,” Stallbaumer said. “You never want to fall into the trap of trying to compare scores. Teams improve throughout the season, different teams match up better with others, certain elements can impact a score. The biggest thing we must do is make sure that we put our best team on the field on Friday and play well.”
Stallbaumer said the Bobcats will have to stop a fast and aggressive team.
“Paola is a very good football team,” Stallbaumer said. “They play fast and aggressive and have great team speed. Paola has been great defensively. They have given up the fewest number of points of anyone in 4A or above this season, less than a touchdown a game, 6.9 per game. They have been dominant all season long.
“They have been able to get a good pass rush with four-man pressure so pass protection will be critical for us. We felt like our offensive line did a great job last week controlling the line of scrimmage and they must do that again this week. Making our reads and stringing together long drives without penalties and getting the ball in the end zone will be critically important this week. Offensively, they have been very successful running the ball so making sure we run well and win the line of scrimmage will be critical. With that said, they lull you to sleep sometimes with runs and that is when they hurt you with play-action so our secondary must be disciplined in their keys and assignments. They are an option team so overall discipline will be huge.”
The winner of Friday’s game will play the winner of Bishop Miege and Louisburg. If Louisburg wins, the winner of the Panthers and Bobcats will travel to Louisburg but will host Bishop Miege if the Stags get the victory.
The Leavenworth Times will be covering the game Friday. Follow our Twitter @LVTSportsGuy for updates.