Paul Mierkiewicz is well aware of what’s ahead for his McPherson College football team the next two weeks.
But all his focus is on Saturday when the Bulldogs travel to Hillsboro to take on KCAC tri-leader Tabor, with kickoff set for 1:30 p.m.
Join Matt Cole on 96.7 KBBE-FM for the pre-game starting at 1:15.
The Bluejays come in ranked No. 16 in the country and will not be caught looking ahead as they did two years ago when the Bulldogs went into Hillsboro and pulled off a 15-14 stunner. Tabor is 5-1 in the KCAC and 5-2 overall, while Mac is 1-5 in the KCAC and 1-7 overall, but in only one game have the Bulldogs lost by more than 14 points. They have lost KCAC games by 2, 3, 3 and 10 points and in their 24-point loss to Kansas Wesleyan, it was a 3-point game with 12 minutes remaining.
Tabor is coming off a bit of a scare, winning 32-27 over Friends, though the Falcons did score a late touchdown for cosmetic purposes.
“Obviously they graduated some guys from last year and I think offensively they’re not as predictable, but they are really good,” Mierkiewicz said. “Offensively they’re distributing the ball to a lot of different people. They do a great job of involving a lot of players. You’re seeing fresh guys all the time.”
The running game is still the Jays’ bread and butter as they unleash a stable of running backs, sometimes using new ones in the second half to take advantage of a worn-down defense. In the last two weeks, the Bulldogs have been giving up a lot of yards on the ground, but tightening up down by the goal line. Mac lost 21-19 two weeks ago to Friends and 17-7 last week to Saint Mary despite having a hard time getting off the field on third down as the Falcons and Spires both converted many key third-down plays.
“With them, it starts like it always has — with their offensive and defensive lines,” Mierkiewicz said. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. They like to dominate teams at the line of scrimmage.”
After Saturday, the Bulldogs next travel to No. 18 Sterling, a team many believe is playing the best football of anybody even though it’s a game back in the standings.
“There’s no question, in my opinion, we’re going to see the best two teams in the conference right now,” Mierkiewicz said, with apologies to tri-leaders Saint Mary and Kansas Wesleyan. “We’ll see how it all shakes out at the end.”