WINFIELD — In the first two games, McPherson High had not forced a turnover—one reason the Bullpups were off to an 0-2 start.
MHS coach Jace Pavlovich said an emphasis in practice this week was creating offense by virtue of the defense.
Apparently the Bullpups took it to heart.
A pair of early turnovers sparked a 28-point MHS first-quarter explosion and the Bullpups were able to put it on cruise control from there for a 46-0 rout of Winfield, which for the second year in a row was out of the game before it was barely under way.
A Jayse Alexander interception was turned into a touchdown on the next play and a Dylan Baldwin fumble recovery led to a touchdown 4 minutes later. Add in a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown by Jack Reifschneider as well as the best offensive output of the season and it's easy to see why the margin was as lopsided as it was.
"It was good. We needed it," Pavlovich said. "We knew going into it we had a good team. We knew if we took care of business we'd be all right."
Four different Bullpups scored in the first quarter alone. Andrew Powell capped a game-opening, 10-play drive with a 1-yard run, then Alexander made his pick, returning the INT to the Winfield 2. Tyson Stites scored on the next play.
After a Baldwin fumble recovery, Casen Hoover went up top to Jeff Reed for the first of his three TD passes, this one covering 41 yards. Then after another defensive stop, Reifschneider made a dazzling return as it appeared he would get only a few yards before setting sail after a couple of nice cuts.
Before the first half was over, the brothers Hoover hooked up as Casen hit his sophomore brother Gabe on an 8-yard strike for a 34-0 lead.
"We kind of fell asleep in the second quarter," Pavlovich said. "We'd like to have been up 45 at the half and then pulled the guys earlier than we did."
Unfortunately Baldwin, on what was supposed to be his final play, was lost in the second half to a knee injury. The extent of the injury was not known, but Baldwin could put no weight on his leg.
Casen Hoover tacked on a 20-yard TD pass to Reifschneider in the third quarter and then with the JVs in during the fourth quarter, Honestee Whittker ran three yards to cap a long drive.
Jace Kinnamon, kicking varsity for the first time, added four PATs.
The MHS defense gave up just 103 total yards as time and again it tossed the Vikings for losses. Ends Caleb Spaich and Wyatt Seidl created havoc, while Alexander again was all over the field.
"They did a tremendous job all night," said Pavlovich, whose team is giving up less than 200 yards a game.
Casen Hoover had a nice night throwing the ball, going 7 of 9 for 103 yards and three scores.
MHS returns home on Friday to play undefeated Augusta.
• STATISTICS •
• MHS Listed First •
First Downs — 17, 8. Rushes-Yards — 39-201; 43-49. Passing — 9-13-0-135; 7-21-1-54. Punts-Avg. — 1-20.0; 4-30.8. Fumbles-Lost — 0-0; 2-1. Penalties-Yards — 3-40, 4-20.
• LEADERS •
• Rushing •
MHS — Powell 6-64, C. Hoover 4-44, Stites 10-44, Hoppes 3-21, Kinnamon 4-19, Whittker 9-17, G. Hoover 1-2.
Winfield — Amezcua 20-38, Keller 8-7, Mull 3-3, Suttles 10-1, Gibson 2-0.
• Passing •
MHS — C. Hoover 7-9-0-103, Labertew 1-2-0-30, Hoppes 1-2-0-2.
Winfield — Suttles 7-19-1-54, Gibson, 0-2-0-0.
• Receiving •
MHS — Reed 4-81, Reifschneider 2-22, Diggs 1-14, Arbuckle 1-10, G. Hoover 1-8.
Winfield — Tate 2-16, Brazle 2-8, Rolo 1-21, Crowe 1-8, Sawyer 1-1.