It's hard to believe that Basehor-Linwood can suffer a "down" year. Even if it may appear that way on paper.
The Bobcats, having won 7+ games in 4 of 5 years under head coach Rod Stallbaumer, registered a 10-2 mark last season. But BLHS graduated 16 seniors and 93% of its rushing and receiving, and 66& of its tackles.
"We will be very young and inexperienced, starting several sophomores and underclassmen this year," said Stallbaumer, who is 41-14 entering his sixth season at BLHS. "But they've grown up with a great group ahead of them and will take the next step as starters."
The offensive line does return two starters in senior Cion Harris (5-foot-10, 245) and Zach Smith (6-foot-2, 240). Junior Sawyer Delana (5-foot-11, 230) and freshman Levi Cooley (6-foot-2, 230) should see time up front.
Senior Chase Torkelson (6-foot-1, 170) saw limited time at quarterback as a junior, but looks to be the likely starter. Running back figures to be wide open entering the season, including sophomore Zach Sisemore (5-foot-10, 170).
Senior A.J. Cooper (6-foot-2, 165) has some experience at wide receiver with 10 catches for 140 yards and three touchdowns in 2018. Sophomore Jordan Brown (6-foot-2, 165) leads a cast of underclassmen in the receiving corps.
Brock Hofer scores a TD vs De Soto last year, and helps lead the defense. (Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity)
Defensively, the Bobcats return seniors up front with Josh Willcutt (5-foot-10, 210) and Mason Capper (6-0, 210) on the line. Willcutt notched 45 tackles - 14 for a loss - and was first-team United Kansas Conference as a junior. Capper tallied 34 tackles - nine for a loss - as well. Junior Carter Tickles (6-foot-4, 180) will see time at defensive end, while sophomore Drake Courtney (5-foot-8, 230) will line up at defensive tackle.
Senior Luke Jennings (5-foot-10, 175) registered 18 tackles in 2018, while Brock Hofer (6-foot-1, 195) racked up 65 trackles - 11 for a loss - en route to being named second-team UKC. Sophomores Aidan Ingram (6-foot-2, 195) and Sam Hicks (5-foot-1, 185) also will patrol at linebacker.
The secondary will see a lot of newcomers, including senior Junior Tatum (5-foot-10, 175), senior A.J. Quisenberry (5-foot-9, 150) and sophomore free safety Tommy Lally (6-0, 165).
Though the defending league champs, Basehor-Linwood will have a tough battle ahead with De Soto, Shawnee Heights and Lansing in the mix.
"Although we will be replacing the most of any league teams, we hope to be in that mix as well," said Stallbaumer.
Sept. 6: at Tonganoxie
Sept. 13: vs Lansing
Sept. 20: at Leavenworth
Sept. 27: vs Shawnee Heights
Oct. 4: at Turner
Oct 11: vs De Soto
Oct. 18: vs Atchison
Oct. 25: at Schlagle