Elijah Muehler didn’t get mad, he got even.
During Tuesday’s McPherson eighth-grade football game against Salina South, Muehler fielded a punt on the fly and absorbed a tremendous hit that knocked him out of the game for a couple of series.
Fired up, Muehler extracted his revenge on the Cougars by catching the deciding 19-yard touchdown pass from Kyler Hoppes in the fourth quarter, then sealed the deal with a 65-yard interception return for a score in a 22-12 Bullpup victory.
It was a huge win for the Bullpups, as they defeated the team they had lost to twice as seventh-graders.
“We showed up a little slow today,” said MMS coach Brandon Labertew, whose team is 2-0 after winning just one game last year as seventh-graders. “Finally by the end of the first quarter both our offense and defense started to wake up.”
Down 6-0, MMS took an 8-6 lead into halftime when Hoppes scored on a dive, then flipped a deuce to Jace Kinnamon out of the backfield.
South came back to lead 12-8 before Hoppes hooked up with Muehler in the fourth quarter for the lead. Hoppes added a 2-pointer to make it 14-8.
South had a chance to go ahead with 2 minutes left, but Muehler stepped in for his pick, showing off his blazing speed in flying down the sidelines.
“It was a great defensive performance,” Labertew said. “Our defense was very active all day and flew to the ball very well. This was a great win against a team they had lost to twice last year.”
Brandon Wilson had four tackles and two sacks as the defense gave up just 73 yards on the ground. Muehler also had a fumble recovery to go along with his interception. Honestee Whittker recorded five tackles.
Hoppes was 5 of 11 for 89 yards, with Gabe Hoover catching two passes for 33 yards and Muehler adding two for 30. Kinnamon ran like a tank, plowing for 70 yards on 10 carries as he time and again ran right up the middle carrying defenders on his back.
MMS is back in action Sept. 25 at Hays.