Focus the key for MHS at Rose Hill Friday

By Steve Sell
October 11, 2018
Kendall Shaw

All signs are pointing toward McPherson High’s sixth straight game of running clock.

Even though Bullpup coach Jace Pavlovich is trying to put his best spin on it —  saying that if his team isn’t focused and ready to play that Rose Hill could put up a challenge — the facts are the facts.

The Bullpups take a 6-0 record into Friday’s 7 p.m. game at Rose Hill, while the Rockets are 0-6 and even lost to Circle earlier this season.

For those who can’t make the trip, listen to all the action on 96.7 KBBE-FM with “Voice of the Bullpups” Jim Joyner on the call, with pre-game starting at 6:00.

“It is a struggling football team,” Pavlovich said of Rose Hill. “In terms of scheduling, we always get set up with somebody from the other division (Division IV) and it just so happens this year it’s Rose Hill. We’re going to make the best of it. We’ve had a good week of practice and yesterday we were inside because we had nowhere to go with our practice fields (due to the rain). Our kids are really locked in and I’ve said it before, our guys like to play. They like to have fun.”

It shouldn’t be a lot of fun for Rose Hill. The Rockets are coming off a 48-18 loss to possible future MHS playoff opponent Mulvane and their only close games have been against Clearwater (22-18) and Circle (20-10). Andale, considered of the same ilk as the Bullpups, won 62-0.

Pavlovich said the cold weather should have no bearing on how his team performs.

“It’s the type of weather that we fully expect to be playing in if we’re where we want to be at the end of the year,” he said. “This is going to be a good test for us. We’re not going to change anything we do. We’re pretty stubborn. Somewhere down the road we’re going to have to be able to throw in these (cold) conditions. (Kyler) Hoppes has done it before and we expect he’ll execute very well.”

MHS’ defense has been incredible against the run and the Rockets come in averaging just 29 yards rushing as most of their offense comes through the air. Tyce Carlson, with 39 yards, can reach 1,000 yards passing on the year and he has two good receivers in Dalton Rapp (18 catches, 404 yards) and Brady Koenigsman (16, 227).

“I expect a lot of three-step (drop) in the passing game, similar to what Winfield did,” Pavlovich said. “They’re a well-coached team, they’ve got a great quarterback and three or four really good receivers.”

MHS is seeking its first 7-0 start since 1921 as this team is venturing where no Bullpup team has ever gone before. Over two seasons, MHS has won 15 of its last 16 games.

Hoppes enters the game with 1,195 yards passing with 14 TDs and only 2 picks. Jace Kinnamon has 894 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground and figures to go over the 1,000-yard mark Friday as he has hit the century mark in six straight games. Gabe Hoover has 37 catches for 706 yards and 9 scores.

Mason Thrash is still the top tackler with 29, with Khalil Lisbon second with 25, 9 of those for losses.

Remember, many of the Bullpup starters have been playing just over a half and nothing figures to change on Friday.