• 8TH GRIDDERS IMPRESSIVE — A year ago, the McPherson seventh-grade football team won only one game and one of its losses was by more than 50 points to Great Bend.
So I wasn’t expecting much on Thursday when I attended the eighth-grade season opener against that same Great Bend team that inflicted so much bodily harm last year, as the Bullpups had some players injured in that game that wrecked their season.
Imagine my surprise and those who have followed this team since their youth days when it simply dominated Great Bend, 34-6.
Even MMS coach Brandon Labertew seemingly was stunned by what his team accomplished. It came out and won the line of scrimmage, unveiled an expertly-run offense that mixed up the pass and run masterfully and a defense that hit hard and forced turnovers.
The Bullpups piled up 367 total yards. Quarterback Kyler Hoppes threw the ball well, and backs Jace Kinnamon and Honestee Whittker ran hard. The line opened the holes and the Bullpups dominated the time of possession. The defense had a lot of players get involved, as the tackling numbers were balanced.
What was most pleasing was to see the faces of the players after the game as this is a group that hasn’t experienced a lot of football success. While small in numbers, it produced in a big way. It will be interesting to see how this team fares the rest of the season, but for now it was a great start.
• HART CATCHES FOUR — McPherson High grad Jordan Hart, now a junior at Washburn University, had a hand in the Ichabods’ 10-7 victory Thursday night over Nebraska-Kearney, which evened its record at 1-1.
Hart had a terrific freshman season for the Ichabods, but was limited last year because of injuries. Now back to his old self, he’s a chief threat in the Washburn offense.
He had a team-high four catches in the narrow win, mostly on short outs as he totaled only 20 yards. His freshman year, though, he was known for his big plays as his 18 catches resulted in 307 yards and four touchdowns. He had 13 catches last year for 325 yards and three scores, but played only five games.
McPherson’s Joel Piper is a backup quarterback for the Ichabods, but has not thrown a pass this year. Last year he threw for 781 yards and seven touchdowns, including 343 and four touchdowns against Missouri Western.
• SAD EFFORT — The Kansas City Royals returned home Thursday to play the last-place Boston Red Sox and were the ones who played like the team that was in last place.
The Royals kicked it around in a lifeless 6-3 loss. First baseman Eric Hosmer made yet another error on the most routine of grounders, shortstop Alcides Escobar whiffed on a routine play and Mike Moustaskas made a throwing error at third. Outfielder Nori Aoki should have been given an error in right field, but the scorer was generous.
The Royals simply can’t afford to give away games at this stage of the season as they are neck and neck with Detroit for AL Central supremacy. For whatever reason, they simply don’t seem to focus as much at home as many of their worst games have been at The K. They have three more with Boston this weekend and quite honestly need to win all three.