McPherson College’s football team has two more chances to win its first game of the season, starting with Saturday’s Senior Day game with Sterling.
Make note of the kickoff at it’s a 1 p.m. start at McPherson Stadium.
“It’s an emotional day, but we have to be careful because there’s still another game to be played after this,” McPherson coach Paul Mierkiewicz said. “It’s important that we send these guys out the right way. Obviously it’s been a very difficult season. With a good performance and a win, it would put a lot of smiles on peoples’ faces.”
It’s been a long year for the Bulldogs, who come in 0-7 in the KCAC and 0-8 overall. Sterling has overcome a slow start to improve to 5-2 in the KCAC and is 5-3 overall.
If you survey coaches around the KCAC, Andy Lambert’s Warriors are generally regarded as one of the most prepared teams heading into a game. Lambert recently won his 100th game at Sterling as his program has been a model of consistency.
The Warriors will do nothing fancy. They line up and dare opponents to stop the run and are led by the KCAC’s most dynamic newcomer this season, quicksilver freshman quarterback Cedrick Phillips, who rushed for two scores and threw for two more last week in a 44-25 rout of Saint Mary. He leads the KCAC in rushing with 1,023 yards.
“It’s mostly about the quarterback out of the zone read and power read,” Mierkiewicz said. “He’s a very athletic player and they try to get him in as much space as they can”
Phillips had an astounding 306 yards rushing in the Warriors’ win over Bethany and he’s amazingly durable even though he’s only 162 pounds. He’s not afraid to tuck it and run it 30 times a game.
“Some guys just know how to absorb a hit and take a tackle the right way,” Mierkiewicz said. “He’s just a great player who’s extremely elusive.”
The Bulldogs’ problems have been numerous, but they mostly start with the offense. Mac did not score a single offensive touchdown during an 0-5 October and has just three offensive scores on the year. Its games have followed a typical pattern as the defense has played well early, but it spends so much time on the field and has so little depth that it tires and then the points come in bunches.
Following Saturday’s game, the Bulldogs close out the regular season next week at Bethany in the renewal of the McPherson County championship game.
The big KCAC game on Saturday pits Kansas Wesleyan at Ottawa. The Coyotes have just one conference loss and the Braves have two.
• KCAC STANDINGS •
Tabor, 7-0 (8-1)
Kansas Wesleyan, 6-1 (8-1)
Sterling, 5-2 (5-3)
Ottawa, 5-2 (5-3)
Bethel, 3-4 (3-5)
Saint Mary, 3-4 (3-5)
Southwestern, 2-5 (2-7)
Bethany, 2-5 (2-7)
Friends, 2-5 (2-7)
McPherson College, 0-7 (0-8)
• Saturday’s Games •
Sterling at McPherson College
Bethany at Tabor
Kansas Wesleyan at Ottawa
Friends at Bethel
Saint Mary at Southwestern