McPherson High’s football team, just over a month away from starting its preseason camp, will go into it with some momentum.
The Bullpups took part Saturday in the Blue Valley Mid-Summer Tournament, making it all the way to the finals before losing to big-school Blue Valley.
MHS had defeated Blue Valley in pool play earlier after opening with a tie against Spring Hill. The Bullpups also picked off Louisburg, Shawnee Mission South, Leavenworth, Shawnee Mission North and Blue Valley Southwest.
“Our kids have come a long way this summer,” said MHS coach Jace Pavlovich, whose team is coming off a 5-4 record in his first season. “We only took 13 kids to the tournament today and I was proud of how they competed.”
Senior quarterback Casen Hoover has had a tremendous summer directing the offense and Pavlovich is expecting big things this fall.
“Again, Casen Hoover did a great job throwing the ball,” Pavlovich said. “I cannot wait to see what he does this fall. We had our normal great performances by (receivers) Jeff Reed and Thomas Diggs. We moved Mikey Saverino to the X-receiver and he did a great job. We might just keep him there. It was great to see Sam Arbuckle slide into the starting Z- spot. He was solid all day. Caleb Spaich had to step in and play running back. He has several big-time catches to move the chains and get a first down.”
The Bullpup defense, expected to be the team’s strength early in the season, again sparkled.
“Defensively we were solid all day,” Pavlovich said. “Corners Tyson Stites and Ben Nikkel both did a great job. Our playmaking safety Drew Labertew did not disappoint. Kyler Hoppes filled in at weak safety and proved that he is fully capable of stepping in on Friday nights. Jayse Alexander, Britton Bate and Luke Koehn all had to reign it in a little and be a little less physical in a one-hand touch game. They were looking to hit folks coming across the middle, but settled in and broke on the ball well.”
The Bullpups open their season Sept. 2 hosting arch-rival Buhler in what will be one of the spotlight games in Kansas for opening week.