Jace Pavlovich had a simple answer when asked if Friday’s McPherson High road football game at Rose Hill could be a potential trap game since the highly anticipated district schedule starts next week.
“Every game is a trap game anymore,” Pavlovich said.
The two schools clash at 7 p.m. All the action will be carried on 96.7 KBBE-FM with Voice of the Bullpups Matt Cole on the call beginning at 6:45.
A close game wasn’t thought to be the case before the season. Rose Hill was 0-9 last year and picked to sweep the cellar during the preseason.
After two losses to open up, though, the Rockets won back-to-back nailbiters, then blew out Wellington last week for their third straight win.
“Rose Hill is 3-2 and their two losses came to very good teams,” Pavlovich said. “We will have to play well to leave Rose Hill with a win.”
The Bullpups always have struggled with the Rockets, squeaking out an 8-7 victory there two years ago.
“Rose Hill always plays us tough,” Pavlovich said. “They have a great coaching staff that prepares their kids well. With the advent of strength and conditioning programs across the state, winning consistently is hard to do.”
The Bullpups also are riding a three-game winning streak, having won those games by a combined score of 112-6 as the offense has caught up with the season-long sterling play of the defense. Circle scored on its second play of the game last week, but never sniffed the end zone again as MHS posted a 35-6 rout.
“I was pleased with our defense and have been all year,” Pavlovich said. “They got us on one big play early in the game due to one guy out of position, but they did a great job.”
While MHS put up 35 points, 28 of those came in the first half and Pavlovich was not as pleased as the previous week.
“Offensively I was frustrated after the game, but looking back at it we were able to run the ball against a loaded box,” he said. “We need to do a better job of execution in the vertical passing game. If we catch a few more passes, we put up three more scores. Our special teams, in particular, the kickoff team has got to get better.”
Tyson Stites did return as the PAT kicker and was 5-for-5, which was a plus. MHS, though, did give up some big yards on kickoff returns.
As always, there were some unsung players last week that the general fan may not have noticed.
“Our offensive line as a whole was very physical,” Pavlovich said. “Dawson Van Goethem, Jared Ruth, Clayton Gerbrandt, Raine Reitsma, Britton Bate, Tyler Wheat and Dylan Baldwin all played very well. Jace Kinnamon stepped up in a big way at linebacker in place of Jayse Alexander.”
Kinnamon, though, was hurt in the JV game Monday and is out with a knee injury. Alexander, though, could be back.
Rose Hill does have some weapons to fire.
“They run the spread inside zone, outside zone game just like we do,” Pavlovich said. “They have a great quarterback and some talented skill players. Defensively they have been in a 4-2-5 all year, but we are expecting a little of everything. They ran the 3-4 all year last year, then got into a 4-man front for our game.”
MHS hosts Hays next week in the first district game. The Indians are just 1-5, but have played much-bigger schools and been competitive in nearly every game.