Not only was McPherson High’s defense not giving up any points, it wasn’t giving up any yards.
The heralded Bullpup defense held Winfield to 0 points and minus-2 total yards when it exited the game near the end of third quarter here Friday and did not allow a first down.
With a balanced offense contributing 484 total yards and scoring on six straight possessions, it all added up to a 38-14 victory as the Vikings did add two cosmetic touchdowns against the Bullpup reserves in the final period as the overflow hometown crowd was treated to a dominating effort in MHS’ first McPherson Stadium appearance of the season.
The Bullpups improved to 2-1 with a key road game next week at Augusta, which no doubt will be seething after last year’s 41-0 MHS domination spoiled its 3-0 start to the season.
MHS struggled at the outset against the Vikes, leading only 6-0 at the end of the first quarter before shifting into overdrive.
“It was a little sloppy coming out of the gates,” MHS coach Jace Pavlovich said. “We got to be better. If we’re going to beat a good team like Augusta next week, we can’t come out sluggish (offensively) like that. Defensively, we were lights-out all night.”
The Vikings blocked Kyler Hoppes’ punt after MHS’ first possession went 3-and-out and they took the ball over at the Bullpup 4. But the Bullpups stuffed the Vikings and on fourth down, Ben Nikkel recovered a fumble in the end zone.
MHS then fumbled on its second drive, but after that the offense started firing on all cylinders. It led 26-0 at the half and 38-0 after three quarters.
“Overall we cleaned things up after those first couple of drives,” Pavlovich said. “I was proud of our kids.”
The Bullpups finally produced the much-desired balance with 248 yards on the ground and 236 through the air. Hoppes was 15 of 21, with two touch passes forward to Nikkel that resulted in touchdowns and also had a scoring strike to Gabe Hoover, who unfortunately suffered a shoulder injury later in the game that might cost him some time.
Jace Kinnamon, who had 76 yards on 16 carries, and Austen Hunt, who added 70 on 15 tries, each scored a rushing touchdown as did Hoppes. Jakob Feil played the fourth quarter and zig-zagged his way to 59 yards on 11 carries.
“That (the balanced offense) is exactly what we want to see,” Pavlovich said. “With the spread offense, we want to keep the defense on its heels. When they stack the box we throw, when they vacate the box we run it.”
Hoppes threw for 226 yards, with Thomas Diggs re-emerging from a silent first two games to be a big part of the offense with six catches for 101 yards. Talyn Huff had three for 46.
“Our offensive line really did a great job all night,” Pavlovich said. “They just physically domianted Winfield’s box.”
Winfield finished with 88 yards, 90 in the fourth quarter.
Pavlovich expects Augusta to be breathing fire next Friday when MHS goes on the road.
“That’s something they’ve been looking forward to all offseason,” he said. “I know they’re well coached and they’ve got some tremendous players on their side of the ball. They’ve got some tremendous size and tremendous speed. We really look forward to this matchup on Friday.”