After a disappointing loss in the first round of the Kansas 4A state playoffs in 2019, Basehor-Linwood football is going back to basics.
Coming off a 5-4 season, the Bobcats will have to replace a quarterback who threw for over 2,400 yards as well as an offensive line that graduated four seniors.Head coach Rod Stallbaumer said his team is changing how they practice and prepare to instill more discipline in his players.
"Last season we were very inconsistent with our practice habits and it carried over into games," he said. "Being disciplined is critical to football and the more disciplined we can be to our assignments at practice the more disciplined we will be to our assignments in football."
The Bobcats worked through the summer with both in-person and virtual gatherings in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"Our attendance was great all summer, we took some measures to help bridge the gap," Stallbaumer said. "We did some Zoom meetings and tutorials, we created some online video installs for the kids to help supplement what we would typically do in the summertime."
While they only return five starters on each side of the ball, Stallbaumer said he will rely on underclassmen to fit into starting roles as he has in the past.
"We have several that will be expected to step up and take on some of the roles left from graduation," he said. "Drake Courtney and Peyton McGee on the defensive line, Tucker Dixon at linebacker. We expect Levi Cooley, who started as a freshman, to become a dominant force as a sophomore on the OL."
Basehor returns Jordan Brown and Ethan Huber at wide receiver after they combined for over 1,100 yards and 11 touchdown catches last season.
At quarterback, the Bobcats will look for senior Isaac Stanton or junior Brady Garrison to fill big shoes left by Chase Torkelson.
Stallbaumer said the Bobcats will tweak their scheme on the offensive side of the ball in order to fit whoever is under center when the season opens but things will remain largely unchanged on defense.
"This season we look to be more balanced and utilize our WRs a little differently than we have in the past and use some more tight end formations," he said, "but the base offense will remain the same. Defensively we will look very similar, our scheme fits our personnel well and we will again try to be fast and disruptive with smaller, quicker, tough kids."
Stallbaumer said the uncertainty surrounding the season has created a do-or-die environment in some ways but the team is prepared for whatever is thrown at them.
"This whole season will feel a little like a playoff run, from week to week you never know when it could be your last," he said. "Not just in our district but also with our opponents. You never know when a team may get quarantined or a county or district not be allowed to play. We can’t take anything for granted, we just have to do the best we can to minimize the risk, control what we can control, pray and prepare for the best."
The Bobcats are set to open the season at home Sept. 4 against Tonganoxie. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.