An already long night for McPherson High’s football team was made even longer on Friday as the Bullpups gave up a late touchdown to Maize South to break a 6-all tie that propelled the Mavericks to a 14-6 victory in a game that ended a handful of minutes before midnight.
Three stoppages in play due to crackling thunder and lightning, two before the game and one at halftime, pushed the game into marathon status. The kickoff didn’t come until 8:38.
For the Bullpups, it was their second straight would’ve, should’ve, could’ve been game as they won the statistical battle, but lost where it mattered most — on the scoreboard.
MHS is now 0-2 against teams that went deep into the state playoffs last year. This one, though, hurt more since the Bullpups frittered away a lot of chances.
“We had plenty of opportunities to go and score,” said MHS coach Jace Pavlovich, who saw his team get stopped at the South 1 midway in the first half and couldn’t take advantage of good field position all night. “We just didn’t get it done. Kids fought, fought all night.”
South scored on its second possession of the game on a 48-yard scamper by Jason Perez and held that lead until 6:54 left in the game when MHS’ Cason Hoover scored on a 6-yard run.
Both teams, though, missed extra points.
Right after the Bullpups scored to tie it, South took the ball and marched 63 yards in 12 plays, capped by Ethan Richardson’s 2-yard run with 2:36 remaining. There was nothing fancy about it as the Mavericks just lined up and grounded it out.
“A few big plays here and there and other than that our defense played lights-out,” Pavlovich said as MHS gave up just 205 yards for the game and had 258 of its own.
The Bullpups would never threaten on their final series.
MHS ran the ball much better as Tyson Stites had 100 yards on 22 carries and Hoover added 72 on 12. But the windy conditions hampered the MHS passing game as it managed just 80 yards. Jack Reifschneider provided excitement in the punt return game, averaging 28.3 yards per return including a 47-yarder.
“That’s a good defense, that’s a good team,” Pavlovich said of the Mavericks. “We ran the ball well, but we’re missing that big play. I don’t know how many plays we had over 15 or 20 yards, but we’re grinding it out.”
MHS takes to the road on Friday to play at Winfield.
• STATS •
• MHS Listed First •
First Downs — 15-10. Rushes-Yards — 42-148; 41-178. Passing — 7-22-1-80; 7-15-0-57. Punts-Avg. — 5-39.2; 7-41.3. Fumbles-Lost — 2-1; 0-0. Penalties-Yards — 4-40; 7-72.
• LEADERS •
• Rushing •
MHS— Stites 22-100, Hoover 12-72, Reifschneider 2-6, Powell 5-0.
South — Perez 18-115, Parke 2-22, Richardson 17-16, Domnick 3-3, Bliss 2-(8).
• Passing •
MHS — Hoover 7-22-0-80.
South — Richardson, 7-15-0-57.
• Receiving •
MHS — Reed 2-30, Diggs 2-18, Reifschneider 1-27, Saverino 1-6, Stites 1-(-1).
South — Wiens 3-16, Seiler 2-44, Perez 2-(-3).