4th-graders are Super Bowl champs

By Steve Sell
November 07, 2017
Contributed Photo

Maybe in 8 years, the McPherson fourth-graders will experiencing a run like the current high school football team.

For now, the Bullpup fourth-graders are Super Bowl champions as they won that distinction in the Rail Yard Rumble over the weekend.

On Sunday at Newton’s Fischer Field, the Bullpups were crowned champions after a 13-0 victory over previously undefeated Clearwater. McPherson finished the year with an 8-0 record.

The Bullpups opened the game recovering an onside kick and Kaiser Kanitz then sped 52 yards for a score. McPherson added another touchdown on its next possession on a 48-yard dash by Cade Strathman, then the game turned into a battle of defenses.

“We knew going in that our defense was going to dominate them and that in order to get the win we needed to score quickly,” McPherson coach Trapper Buettgenbach said. “They had a very good defense. Our game plan was to set up our misdirection plays early so we could break some long runs and then let our defense bring it home for us. Kanitz made a great read on their defensive end early, pulling the ball and going in for the first score. I was really excited to see Strathman get a chance to break loose in the second drive for a long score. All year he has been our bruiser, getting those tough yards and it was great to see him break one."

After the Bullpups’ great start, and despite a lot of yards offensively, they didn’t score again after their early burst.

“Clearwater had a great defense, they made some adjustments at the half that really gave our offensive line some trouble,” Beuttgenbach said. “If you look at the stats we were able to gain a bunch of yards, but credit the Indians for stepping up inside the red zone.” 

Kanitz had a monster offensive game with 181 yards rushing and he passed for another 136. Strathman zipped to 79 yards on just 4 carries and had 6 catches for 58 yards. Pounding fullback Jackson Anderson had 47 yards on 6 carries and was lauded for his lead blocking, along with Aaron Winter, who had 12 yards on 3 totes. Jett Pyle snagged 3 passes for 36 yards and Manny Moralez had 2 catches for 19. Paxton Ingels added one for 23.

Kanitz led the defense with 14 tackles, 6 of them for losses. Strathman had 7 tackles and a pick, which he returned 36 yards. Anderson had 8 tackles. Clearwater managed only 52 yards and 3 first downs.

Julian Glover, Koty Lackey, Jace Godwin, Braxton Burgess and Brayden Senical all had 6 tackles.

“Overall this experience has been great for the players, their parents and for the youth football program in McPherson,” Buettgenbach said. “This was something new we tried out and it was nice to see all the support and hype for these boys as they competed. My hat goes off to all those who supported us along the way.”