It didn’t matter that McPherson High’s boys soccer team was playing on legs that ached constantly due to three matches in four days.
The Bullpups gutted through their exhaustion here Thursday to blank Valley Center 2-0 to improve to 10-4 heading into the final week of the regular season.
The Bullpups are now 5-0 at home and have outscored their foes 32-0, with Circle coming to town on Tuesday for the home regular-season finale. The T-Birds have struggled mightily this season, so MHS is expected to continue its streak.
MHS finished “Gauntlet Week” with a 2-1 record, defeating Hutchinson here Monday, losing a heart-breaker at Buhler Tuesday before bouncing back to outlast defensive-minded Valley Center.
“We’re going to have a real light practice tomorrow and give them the day off Saturday. They’ve earned it,” MHS coach Chris Adrian said. “They were spent. I could tell. We used up a lot of physical and emotional energy.”
For the second match in a row, a Tyler Hoxie penalty kick started MHS’ scoring. That lead was rather tenuous until Darrius Armstrong scored a goal off a Jael Jaime assist in the second half, that coming just moments after Armstrong had received a rare yellow card that obviously fired him up as he returned to the game with boundless energy.
“Darrius was all over the field,” Adrian said. “He was getting a little bit of trash talk from the other team and he was getting frustrated because he couldn’t score, then he scores 10 seconds after getting the card. That’s how you answer an opponent when they’re trying to trash talk, just go out and play your game and play at a high level. He’s turned into a goal-scorer for us.”
Adrian said his team has shown much improvement over the season and has come a long way since defeating Valley Center 2-0 in the Maize South tournament.
“Even though we missed some chances in front of the net and weren’t playing our best today, we are so much more composed in front of the goal than we were early in the season,” Adrian said. “We’ve got a tremendous home record going. That was a goal of ours after last year and it was a point of emphasis. When we play here, there’s something different that’s got to be going on. We’ve now scored 32 goals and allowed zero in our last five games. We’re going to look to continue that.”
MHS’ JVs suffered a rare loss, 2-1. Marcel Hortskamp scored the goal, assisted by Florian Gergs.