8th-graders remain perfect, now 5-0

By Steve Sell
September 28, 2018

The perfect season continued for the McPherson eighth-grade football team.

Another complete effort keyed an 18-0 victory over Salina South here Thursday as the Bullpups finally returned home after three straight road games.

“Today was one more step towards this team’s long-term goal of winning it all,” said MMS coach TJ Jackson, whose team is now 5-0. “Salina South was undefeated coming in and these guys were not about to let them take what belonged to them and that was the chance to stay undefeated.”

Scoring for MMS were Mason Miller on a 3-yard run, Sam Becker on a 15-yard pass from Hunter Alvord and Treyton Pelnar on a 30-yard pass from Hadlee Backhus.

“The first half we put on a display of ball control and the run game,” Jackson said. “We had the ball for just over 12 minutes of the 16, and we never needed to pass one time. We wanted to take advantage of their 3-4 defense with our road graders up front. Our big boys up front were relentless, our backs ran and blocked their butts off and we made it very clear what our plan was.

“We scored on a team that other teams haven’t seen the end zone much, and we stopped a team from scoring that other teams have been getting points put up on them fairly easily. We are very proud of these guys and how tough they are, and more impressively how smart they. They play true team ball on both sides.”

Jaytin Gumm ran for 63 yards on 8 carries, while Alvord (41), Miller (35) and Tucker Pelnar (34) added to what was a 186-yard game on the ground. Backhus threw for 33 yards and Alvord 15. 

Huge defensive days were turned in by Tucker Pelnar (6 tackles, 2 INTs), Dawson Gottwald (4 tackles, 1 INT), Gumm (5 tackles), Miller (4 tackles), Gavin Richardson (1 deflection, 1 INT), Jaret Myers (1 deflection), Eric Saunders (1 fumble recovery), Collin Winter (1 fumble recovery) and Becker (1 tackle, 1 deflection).

“Second (half) we came out and struggled some, but the defense was the story of this half, amassing 4 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries and 3 deflected passes,” Jackson said. “Several of these turnovers came at points where Salina was getting close to scoring and our boys just wouldn’t let them find the end zone. At one point I made a bad call to go for it on 4th down, we didn’t convert and a couple plays later our boys intercepted the ball.”

MMS hosts Junction City on Tuesday.