Before the season, the McPherson High quarterback competition between Kyler Kinnamon and Marcus Houghton was practically a dead heat.
The beauty of the duel, however, was that whichever won the job, the other would be his favorite receiver.
Kinnamon surged ahead at the end of the preseason and the decision is looking like gold.
Kinnamon was a stunning 14 of 15 in the first half here Friday against Buhler for 228 yards, with Houghton catching two scores in addition to kicking a field goal for a 17-7 lead, with the Crusaders’ only score coming on speedster Riley Allen’s 94-yard kickoff return.
And the Bullpups didn’t stop there, as they continued to shred the Buhler defense in the second half for a 44-28 victory, piling up 498 yards of total offense, while forcing three second-half fumbles that were turned into 21 points.
“I feel real good about our effort,” MHS coach Tom Young said. “I think our kids really worked hard. I’m not saying we played perfect, especially toward the end of the fourth quarter when we gave too many yards, but they’re a good team. You’ve got to give them credit.”
Kinnamon, only a sophomore, finished a staggering 23 of 29 for 383 yards and four scores, as well as a touchdown run.
“He was really on tonight,” Young said. “And our guys ran great routes. Our protection was outstanding, and they were blitzing and twisting and that sort of thing.”
Houghton added one more touchdown catch to give him three on the night and had six grabs for 149 yards, while Keaton Sorenson had a 34-yard touchdown catch and latched on to six passes for 106 yards.
Austin O’Bannon added 86 yards on the ground and a touchdown, which came on a 22-yard run.
The other big story of the night was the MHS defense, which last seen at McPherson Stadium was being torched by Hays for more than 500 yards and 58 points. It was especially good in the first half, as Buhler did not have an offensive touchdown, then fumble recoveries by Houghton, Aaron Elsasser and Travis Steenson kept the game in MHS’ favor.
Allen finished with 144 yards on 21 carries, while Joe Schmidt caught 10 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. But the three turnovers were huge, as without them, it would have been much closer.
MHS is now 3-0 in AVCTL Division III and 3-1 overall, while Buhler dropped to 1-2 and 2-2.
MHS is home for the fourth time in five games Friday to play Winfield. It will be the Bullpups’ homecoming game.
MHS Listed First
First Downs — 21, 23, Rushes-Yards — 31-105; 38-243. Passing — 23-30-0-393; 16-29-0-142, Punts-Avg. — 1-31.0; 0-0. Fumbles-Lost 1-0; 4-3. Penalties-Yards — 4-30; 3-15.
Page 2 of 2 - INDIVIDUAL
MHS — O’Bannon 15-86, Clark 7-28, Kinnamon 9-(-9).
Buhler — Allen 21-144, Berblinger 14-88, Perry 2-5, Davidson 1-6.
MHS — Kinnamon 23-29-0-393, Houghton 0-1-0-0.
Buhler — Berblinger 16-29-0-142,
MHS — Houghton 6-149, Sorenson 6-106, Bahr 4-50, Hamilton 3-60, O’Bannon 3-21, Clark 1-7.
Buhler— Schmidt 10-122, Allen 2-(-3), Shantz 1-11, Perry 1-9, Miller 1-2, Keeler 1-2.