McPherson High football coach Jace Pavlovich came home from the Fort Hays State team camp feeling better than when he left.
The Bullpups went up against teams from Kansas and Oklahoma recently, and Pavlovich and his staff will now spend time breaking down and evaluating what transpired.
“I was really impressed with how well our kids came out and played,” Pavlovich said. “Our whole goal in team camps has always been to be the most physical team there. We knew that there would be some execution errors, but as long as we were aggressive and attacking, we were happy.”
The Bullpups ran into Class 6A power Wichita Heights right out of the chute and Pavlovich said his team didn’t back down.
“Our offensive line and defensive line presented problems for them,” Pavlovich said. “We know that our skill guys on offense are game-ready, but our O-line showed that they were, too. We rotated four backs in and felt like each one of them could be counted on in varsity games.”
The Bullpups return six starters on offense, but a scant two on defense. It was that latter side of the ball that Pavlovich was most concerned about going into the camp.
“The major question mark coming into camp was our defense,” Pavlovich said. “The defensive line looked very good all camp. We need to continue to improve in the linebacker core. Mason Thrash and Honestee Whittker are ready to go, but we have some younger guys at our Will linebacker spot that got some valuable experience playing the position. We do have talent at the Will backer, they just need more reps. I was impressed with our secondary play all camp. Those guys really impressed me the way they read their keys and flew to the ball. I was particularly impressed with our corner play. Ty Gottwald showed us that he can get it done at free safety as well.”
All-in-all, the camp gave Pavlovich and his staff plenty to be encouraged about.
“I was told by multiple coaches that we were one of the best teams there,” Pavlovich said. “A handful of our guys are now being recruited by Fort Hays State as a result of their performances at camp. We are all healthy and ready to get back into the weight room and improve athletically.”