MHS in driver's seat for No. 1 West seed

By Steve Sell
October 01, 2018

McPherson High’s 46-7 dismantling of arch-rival Buhler on Friday basically assured the Bullpups of having the No. 1 seed throughout postseason play on the West side of the state.

I know there are 3 weeks left in the regular season, but the numbers don’t lie. The Bullpups have destroyed every team in their path the last 4 weeks and the remaining games are against teams with a combined record of 2-13, and two of those games are at home where MHS has played just twice so far.

I have to admit I didn’t see such a one-sided game coming. I knew the Bullpups were the better team going in, but given Buhler’s pedigree and the fact this is a rivalry game, I thought the Crusaders would keep it close for the most part.

The Crusaders’ first four running plays set the tone — minus yardage on each play. And the Bullpups’ front four, plus their linebackers, had Buhler quarterback Colton Goans repeatedly ducking for the nearest foxhole.

Buhler had seven straight 3-and-outs to start the game and managed just a couple of first downs in the first half.

I’m sure the Buhler faithful in attendance were in shock. They’ve never seen their team dominated at home like that, but this was a one-sided as a game could get.

I’m convinced the Bullpup offense is difficult to stop because you just don’t see many prolific passing teams at this level. It’s hard for teams to prepare to stop the passing game, especially one as dynamic as McPherson’s, without having a passing game of their own to simulate it in practice.

The Bullpups are the only undefeated team left in the West and have played four straight running-clock games. I can’t see that trend changing anytime soon as Augusta comes here on Friday and all it did last week was get more than doubled by a Winfield that the Bullpups overwhelmed. Then Rose Hill is next up and the Rockets are winless. Finally, Circle comes to town and has won only two games out of its last 60 or so.

If you’re looking at a possible first-round opponent in Week 9, the leader in the clubhouse is Independence, but the Bulldogs do have potential games to win as they go up against Rose Hill and Circle. MHS coach Jace Pavlovich is probably hoping for Indy as the opponent because I’m sure he doesn’t want to play Rose Hill or Circle after playing them in the regular season. The real bummer would be if Circle somehow ends up in the bottom spot, then the Bullpups and T-Birds would match up in back-to-back weeks.

When looking at the rest of the West, only Wellington, Goddard and Mulvane have winning records. Goddard is probably the best of the bunch, but I’m looking at the current No. 5 team Andover Central, which is 2-3, as a potential sleeper because of its strength of schedule and the fact it has good athletes.

The Bullpups have the good fortune of having a tremendous team, plus the fact their opponents are experiencing down years. You can only play the teams on the schedule and can’t control how their seasons are playing out.

I’m thinking the Bullpups will get their first real test in the quarterfinals and then the semifinals. I’m sure if it comes down to MHS and Goddard, that will be a game that could go down to the wire.

The great hope, of course, is that MHS makes it to the state finals for the first time in school history where it would match up against Miege, the schools' last competition this year since MHS has moved up to 5A and Miege is still 4A.