The first time it decided the league championship.
This time a state berth is on the line.
Needless to say when McPherson High and Buhler meet in boys soccer, there’s a lot to play for.
The arch-rivals will clash on Thursday at McPherson Stadium for the right to advance to the Elite Eight of Class 4-1A.
Faceoff at McPherson Stadium is set for 6:30. The game will be carried on 96.7 KBBE-FM with Voice of the Bullpups Jim Joyner on the call.
Both MHS and Buhler had to fend off 1-0 semifinal challenges on Tuesday by Cowley County schools Winfield and Arkansas City, respectively.
When the teams met recently in Buhler, MHS had a 1-0 lead until the Crusaders scored two late goals to pull out a 2-1 thriller, the first time they had defeated the Bullpups with Chris Adrian as coach. It also clinched the league championship for Buhler.
Adrian knows the Bullpups are going to have to step it up over Tuesday if they want to extend their season.
“I’m excited about the rematch and this team definitely has something to prove,” said Adrian, whose team is 12-5 on the season while the Crusaders are 10-5-2. “I think we were able to get those postseason nerves out of our system Tuesday night. The boys were definitely not happy with their performance against Winfield and are motivated to show what they can really do Thursday. Coming out fired up and ready to compete shouldn’t be a problem with Buhler coming to town playing on our home field. It would be great to see the stands filled with fans for this rivalry game.”
In other South Central regional semifinals, Berean Academy plays at Andover Central, and Wichita Trinity hosts Hays.
In the Northeast, unbeaten Tonganoxie entertains Maranatha Christian Academy, once-beaten Miege takes on Kansas City Piper and Basehor-Linwood is matched against Kansas City Sumner.
In the East, which has just two brackets, Coffeyville hosts Spring Hill and Independence is home to take on Louisburg.
The bracket will be redrawn after the eight teams are determined.