8th-graders now 5-1

By Steve Sell
October 06, 2017

HUTCHINSON — There were 18 players suited up for McPherson’s eighth-grade football team on Thursday.

Hutchinson had 47.

By sheer numbers, you would think Hutchinson would probably emerge as the winner.

If you thought that, you were wrong.

The Bullpups outlasted Hutchinson 14-8, as Aiden Hoover scored on a pair of short touchdown runs and he threw a 2-point conversion pass to Collin Pearson.

“As coaches, we knew this group had the chance to be really good if they stuck together,” MMS coach TJ Jackson said. “Grades, behavior and injuries have been something that have come up two years in a row now. The difference this year is there is an obvious belief in each other that wasn’t there last year. We had 18 guys on our sideline, to Hutch’s 47. Every single player played in some way in the A-game, and special teams played a big part as well.”

The Bullpups had trouble moving the ball against the Hutch three-man front with just 49 yards rushing, but the passing game picked things up. Pearson had four catches for 55 yards.

The MHS defense, after giving up 61 points last week in the team’s first loss, had a bounce-back game.

“Defensively, it was a much-needed improvement from what we saw last week,” Jackson said. “Guys were much more aggressive. Defense kept them out of the end zone for the second half and gave our offense more chances with the ball in good position.”

The 5-1 Bullpups wrap up the season Thursday at Valley Center.

“We are very proud of these kids and how with low numbers they fought off a team who had enough to play no one both ways,” Jackson said. “With one game left they have a chance to win league. I think if you asked any of them, they would say that last year there is no way they thought this would be the case, but their growth together has made this happen.”