Defense shines during Bullpups' football scrimmage Saturday

By Steve Sell
August 24, 2015

Jace Pavlovich wasn’t surprised that his McPherson High offense had some trouble moving the football against his defense.

After all, the defense had a pretty good idea of what to expect during Saturday’s 90-minute scrimmage at McPherson Stadium. But it really dominated the action when the top-line units were matched.

“That’s pretty typical of a first scrimmage,” said Pavlovich, taking over for the retired Tom Young after serving as the Bullpups’ defensive coordinator for nine glorious playoff years. “Defensively we’re well ahead of where we’re at offensively.”

The Bullpup defense flew to the football and limited the number of big plays. Quarterback Casen Hoover did rip off a nice gainer on a well-executed read-option and he also hooked up with Spenser Wine for a long pass play. Other than that, though, yards were hard to come by. MHS is breaking in new running backs and it could be by committee until somebody emerges as a leader.

It’s been Pavlovich’s belief that his offensive line could be one of the real strengths of the team, but the quickness of the Bullpups’ front seven on defense was noticeable. While huge, the Bullpup linemen found themselves being beat off the line of scrimmage.

“We’ve got to get more physical. We’ve got the guys and we’ve got the size, they’re just going to have to get more movement,” Pavlovich said. “Part of that is a credit to our defensive line. Those guys, we’re really happy where they’re at.”

The defense’s closing speed is what impressed Pavlovich.

“We had some schemes well-blocked to the perimeter, but those guys would shut it down in a hurry,” Pavlovich said. “Defensively, I’m really happy where we’re at. Offensively we’ll grade the film and we’ll get a lot better.”

The first-year coach said the offensive line has been hampered by the absence of Jared Ruth, out with a hand injury. It is hoped he can return soon and at 285 pounds, he gives the line much more strength and experience.

“We want to be able to control the line of scrimmage,” Pavlovich said. “We want to be able to run the ball and control the clock.”

MHS’ next public display will be Friday at the annual Fall Sports Preview at McPherson Stadium. The Bullpups should take the field about 7:40 p.m. as it's the final event of the night. The season opener is the following Friday, Sept. 4, at McPherson Stadium against Class 5A powerhouse Salina South, always among the best teams in the state.