McPherson High’s goals going into its regular-season football finale here Friday against Abilene were to execute and not get anybody hurt.
The Bullpups did exactly that.
After another slow start similar to last week’s game with Wamego, the Bullpups found their stride in the second quarter and they raced away from the Cowboys 49-6 to win their district in about as dominant of fashion as any team in the state.
The Bullpups averaged 48 points in the three games and allowed an average of just 4 points.
They’ll take an 8-1 regular-season record into the first round of the Class 4A Division I playoffs on Friday against 7-2 Buhler, a marquee game at McPherson Stadium that should in all reality be a semifinal game — but that’s the way the bracket falls. MHS won 33-21 against the Crusaders in Week 1.
There was no looking past the Cowboys for the Bullpups.
“Our kids executed really well,” said MHS coach Jace Pavlovich, whose team used a 28-point second-quarter salvo to lead 35-0 at the half. “Focus is not an issue with these guys. They’re going to be ready to play no matter what.”
It was Senior Night and Pavlovich made sure his seniors were spotlighted. Austen Hunt got the start at running back and rushed 18 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns.
Normal starter Jace Kinnamon sat out the first quarter, but when he into the game he was electric. He rushed for 156 yards on just 9 carries and reached the end zone four times. He had back-to-back scoring runs of 42 and 52 yards.
“They were giving us a five-man box and they were obviously taking our passing game away,” Pavlovich said. “Our guys up front did a wonderful job and both of our tailbacks ran well.”
MHS pounded out 288 yards on the ground and Kyler Hoppes was 11 of 16 through the air for 169 yards. He had a 44-yard TD strike to Gabe Hoover, who had 80 receiving yards as he pulled in three balls.
The MHS starting defense, for the seventh game in a row, did not allow a touchdown as the Cowboys’ lone score came in the fourth quarter on a 13-play drive against the McPherson JVs and by that time MHS had the game into running clock, repeating what it did the previous two games.
Buhler will come to town with a 7-2 record and finished second in its district by virtue of a 17-6 loss to Andale.