Jace Pavlovich and his McPherson High football coaching staff feel like they’re traveling back in time.
When the Bullpups journey to Winfield on Friday, they’ll be taking on a Viking team that has installed the old-fashioned single-wing formation — complete with the spinner package.
Game time is 7 p.m.
“We’ve talked to a lot of old single-wing coaches and asked them for some help,” Pavlovich said. “We’ve cracked open some books that were published in the ‘40s on the single wing. There’s a lot of research. (Assistant) Coach (Chet) Harlin has done a lot of research trying to get ready and put ourselves in the best position possible. This is just something you don’t see that much anymore.”
This is the Bullpups’ final game before opening district play here next Friday against what is expected to be a 6-0 Abilene team.
“We want to win every game. We’re not looking ahead to districts right now,” said Pavlovich, whose team takes a 2-1 AVCTL Division III record into the game and a 3-2 mark overall. “We’ve still got to get a lot better. We’ve got focus on ourselves getting better executing offensively and defensively. Winfield is a good team. They’ll be a lot better than last year. They’ve played some really good teams, their losses are to fantastic teams.”
The Vikings, 2-1 in the league and 2-3 overall, were a 41-7 loser last week to Class 3A dynasty Silver Lake, which jumped out to an early 28-0 lead and took them out of their comfort zone.
Despite that result, Pavlovich is expecting a barnburner on Friday.
“We don’t take anybody for granted and we’ve got to play well to win,” he said.
This week is the closest the Bullpups have been to 100-percent health since Week 1, though Spenser Wine is gone for the year. Pavlovich welcomes back Britton Bate and Karsten Hardeman to the defense and there may be some shuffling as he wants to get his best 11 on the field at all times. Sophomore Jayse Alexander has taken advantage of injuries to Bate and Klayton Goering to blossom as he was in on 16 tackles last week. There’s a good chance Bate, Goering and Alexander will all be on the field at the same time as there could be some different scheming this week.
Offensively, Pavlovich said the Bullpups want to continue to ground and pound. Noah Jirgens will be seeking his fifth 100-yard game in six weeks, while sophomore Austen Hunt has emerged the last two weeks with a pair of 70-yard-plus games and Pavlovich likes his burst, while Jirgens has been pure brawn.
A victory would keep MHS in the AVCTL race as it would be 3-1. MHS and Buhler still have to meet in Week 8, though the league race won’t be the primary storyline of that game since it's a district game.