If McPherson High started up a boys gymnastics program this year, Sam Minnick would be its first star.
Minnick put on an acrobatic performance in goal here Thursday night with a lot of tumbling and flying through the air as the Bullpups attempted to fend off highly regarded Class 6A power Dodge City.
Despite making nine saves — even one where he saved it between his ankles — the Red Demons slipped through a goal in overtime for a 2-1 victory.
The loss dropped the hard-luck Bullpups to 5-5-1 on the year, four of the losses by a single goal and the other by two goals in a game shortened to a half because of weather.
Bullpup coach Chris Adrian remained positive despite the loss as the Bullpups put on a brave performance against the speed-filled Demons, with Minnick the headliner.
“He was doing that with a fever and not feeling good,” Adrian said of Minnick, who actually didn’t play the first 14 minutes as Tanner Rose held the fort with aplomb. “That’s a great team we played tonight, too. We felt like we executed our game plan just like we’ve been wanting to. We were looking to hit them on the counter. They had really good players with speed. We did a really good job of limiting their chances, especially in the first half.”
MHS scored a picture-perfect goal 14 minutes into the game as freshman Devin Cape perfectly set up sophomore Andric McGill, who didn’t miss for a 1-0 Bullpup lead.
MHS held that lead like a dog with a bone, but midway through the second half Isaac Palma scored off a Leonel Lopez assist.
Minnick turned back several golden chances for the Red Demons throughout the rest of the game, but Palma scored again in the extra session with 4:18 showing on the clock.
“The second half we played really good,” Adrian said. “We played with a lot of heart today, which is what I was the most proud of. We came in a little banged up, too, after the last game... we had some guys sick. In terms of effort and heart, we made up for a lot of lack of everything else.”
The Bullpups continue their brutal schedule against bigger-class schools on Tuesday when Class 5A power Salina Central comes to town.
MHS lost the JV game 5-0, as Mario Martinez’s hat trick sparked the Red Demons.