Defense shines at MHS scrimmage Saturday

By Steve Sell
August 20, 2017
Kendall Shaw

Saturday’s McPherson High football scrimmage went pretty much according to plan.

“Our defense is well ahead of our offense, which in even some of the years where we were a little bit weaker defensively we always did a pretty good job in this first scrimmage,” said MHS coach Jace Pavlovich after putting his team through the paces before a good-sized turnout Saturday morning at McPherson Stadium. “It was as expected. There’s a lot of things we do throughout the course of the week that formation-wise they (the defense) see. We only have one play we run off motion installed right now and things like that. So they know what’s coming.”

The MHS defense, which has been receiving high acclaim during the preseason, basically controlled the line of scrimmage as Pavlovich had his No. 1 defense against his No. 1 offense at the start. Wyatt Seidl, one of the few Bullpups expected to go both ways, played on the defensive side, which did weaken the offense somewhat. And linebackers Jayse Alexander and Kollin Goering at times seemingly were in the backfield about the time the ball was handed off.

“Offensively, like I told the guys, we’re one block away, in some cases two, from breaking a big one,” Pavlovich said. “Once we get there we’ll be fine.”

The quarterback competition continued as Drew Labertew and Kyler Hoppes both directed a couple of series. 

“We’ll evaluate it on film and see where we’re at,” Pavlovich said. “I thought their decision-making was good... taking care of the football and doing the right things. We have to keep in mind who these kids are up against.”

The Bullpups have a fleet of running backs. Austen Hunt, the second-leading rusher as a sophomore two years ago but out all of last season with an injury, was held out of the scrimmage. He’s also been vying for a starting defensive spot, so Jace Kinnamon, who came on like gangbusters at the end of last season with some 100-yard performances, got most of the carries when the first-line groups were in. Jakob Feil and Honestee Whittker also got some totes, with Feil having a couple of runs where he displayed stop-on-the-dime cutting ability.

The scrimmage wrapped up the first full week for the Bullpups, who now prepare for their next public showing on Friday at the annual MHS Fall Preview. They’ll be taking the field approximately 7:40 as they close down the show. Then it’s for real on the following Friday when MHS, ranked No. 3 in Class 4A Division I, heads 15 minutes down the road to take on No. 2 Buhler in what may be Kansas’ spotlight game on opening night.

“We got a lot done in the first week,” Pavlovich said. “Again, it was a lot of review stuff because we haven’t installed anything new from the summertime. it was a great first week and the kids came to work every day looking to get better.”