It’s Buhler Week.
Everywhere McPherson High’s sports teams look this week, it will be Buhler, Buhler, Buhler.
Last year, the Bullpups essentially got the upper hand on their rivals that reside 20 minutes to the south, except in regional baseball.
Most notable was football, where the Bullpups defeated the Crusaders not once, but twice — including the memorable playoff game where MHS ran the “Jade” play in overtime that will forever go down in the annals of Bullpup sports as perhaps the most exciting finish ever.
Also in boys basketball, the Bullpups had to defeat a talented Crusader team three times, the highlight coming in the sub-state finals that punched MHS’ ticket to state, where it finished second for the third year in a row to another nemesis Miege.
This week, MHS teams and Buhler will get very familiar with each other. Both schools enjoy the competition and I believe while being somewhat antagonists, there's a mutual respect on both sides.
It starts on Tuesday when the Crusaders come to town as part of a volleyball triangular at the Roundhouse that also includes Circle, which traditionally has been strong. It represents another broadcast of volleyball on 96.7 KBBE-FM as we try to bring Bullpup sports fans as much MHS action as we can and we appreciated all the positive comments after last week's match.
On Thursday, expect a raucous atmosphere at McPherson Stadium when the AVCTL boys soccer title could be up for grabs when the Bullpups host a Buhler team that has tied with Andover Central, the Jaguars’ only blemish on what otherwise is a perfect season. Central came into McPherson Stadium last week and edged the Bullpups, 2-1.
This event, too, will be aired on 96.7 KBBE-FM at 6:30.
Also on Thursday, MHS' JVs go up against Buhler in the AVCTL Tennis Tournament.
On Friday, it’s the football rematch that everybody has been clamoring for as the Bullpups and their massive entourage of fans make the short trip in what will be MHS’ first real test since Week 1 against Salina South. For those who don't make it, pre-game coverage on 96.7 KBBE-FM starts at 6.
The undefeated Bullpups have had three straight running-clock games and desperately need to be pushed. Winfield, El Dorado and Abilene offered no pushback at all, but even with Buhler an almost unfathomable 2-2 so far this season with losses to Newton and Mulvane, I’m sure the Crusaders are going to ramp it up and give the Bullpups a supreme test.
I worry that these no-stress games will lull the Bullpups into a false sense of security. After Friday’s game, MHS closes the regular season with games against Augusta, Rose Hill and Circle, none of which are expected to put up a challenge as they are all struggling.
And in Week 9, should the Bullpups win against Buhler on Friday, they would probably be the No. 1 seed in 4A West and host a team like Independence, my alma mater that is winless and has racked up numerous injuries that has depleted its numbers and talent.
For good measure, the MHS cross country team goes up against Buhler in Saturday’s Newton Invitational. And looking ahead to a week from today, the MHS and Buhler ninth-grade and JV football teams square off at McPherson Stadium. And that same day, it’s the AVCTL Division III-IV Tennis Tournament where MHS and Buhler will somehow try to catch probable state champion Wichita Collegiate.
So MHS and Buhler fans are going to become quite acquainted this week. Should be a fun time for all.