Sports thoughts by Steve Sell
The weekly round of sports news and views...
News — McPherson High’s football team can win the AVCTL Division III title outright with a road win at undefeated and second-ranked Mulvane Friday night.
Views — After struggling their first two games, the Bullpups have been really solid their last three. We feared a letdown last week against Winfield, and on the first play of the game our worst fears were confirmed when the Vikings hit on a long pass play to score. But there was no panic on MHS’ part, as it methodically took apart the Vikings the rest of the way. It was reassuring that Marcus Houghton could come in for Kyler Kinnamon and keep the offense humming along, as the Bullpups now have thrown for more than 750 yards the last two weeks. And don’t forget, they still have a punishing ground game now that Dalton Clark is back to join Austin O’Bannon. While it would be great to win Division III, remember the big prize is going far in the 4A playoffs. This game, win or lose, will only help the Bullpups in their quest.
News — McPherson High’s 26-3 volleyball team will be hosting its annual invitational Saturday.
Views — This is a great opportunity for those who haven’t seen this outstanding team play. Not only is MHS a talented team, but the field can match up with any tournament in the state, as Kapaun, Carroll, Salina Central and Mill Valley also are outstanding. There is going to be at least one quality team left out of the semifinals that could be playing in the finals if it went to a different tournament. Let’s see the Roundhouse with a large and enthusiastic crowd Saturday.
News — McPherson College’s football team has reached the halfway point of its season 3-1 in the KCAC, and takes a 3-2 overall record into its bye week before returning next Saturday at Ottawa.
Views — To be honest, we thought if the Bulldogs could scrape out three or four wins in Pete Sterbick’s first year it would be acceptable. But the way this team has played so far, we’ve changed our outlook. The only losses are to now No. 3-ranked Missouri Valley (a game that Mac had a chance to tie with five minutes to go) and Friends, which was like a cat with nine lives as the Bulldogs basically served it up on a silver platter. Of the five games left, three are against first-division KCAC teams, while the other two are against teams with a combined one win. Right now, the Bulldogs are playing as well as any team in the KCAC and they could possibly run the table to finish 8-2.
News — Kansas and Kansas State renew their football rivalry Saturday in Manhattan.
Views — Did we say rivalry? There’s no rivalry here. Ever since Bill Snyder took over, this series has been a monster mismatch. KU did get a reprieve by winning all three years when Ron Prince was at the Wildcat helm, but it didn’t take long for normalcy to return. The only question is whether or not KU will be within shouting distance at halftime, as its defense is like a sieve and Dayne Crist has played nothing like the hype that surrounded him upon his arrival.
News — The Kansas City Chiefs can’t capitalize on the momentum of their huge comeback win over New Orleans, as they lay an egg at home against San Diego.
Views — The Saints game is looking like an aberration. You really have to feel for Matt Cassel, who looks like he’s about to cry every time he commits one of his passel of turnovers. He’s so far off on some of his throws that it has to make you wonder what the Chiefs saw in him to give $60 million. The offense didn’t do the defense any favors last week with all the turnovers, yet it’s still a unit that gives you a feeling it’s not going to make many stops, especially against the pass.
News — The Kansas City Royals end the season in third place, but fall far short of 81 wins, which was a goal at the start of the year.
Views — Take away the dreadful start and the dreadful finish and the Royals played some decent baseball. That 0-10 first homestand basically sapped the life out of the season, as they were treading water the rest of the year. Youngsters Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas battled the Sophomore Jinx, especially Hosmer, who was thought to be can’t miss after a big rookie year and the fact he tore it up in spring training. Once the pitchers figured him out, he looked hopelessly lost. Moustakas had good numbers the first half of the year, but tailed off dramatically after the All-Star break. Injuries killed this club, wiping out half the starting rotation and closer Joakim Soria. Top priorities in the offseason are two starting pitchers and a second baseman. There are some pieces here — Billy Butler and Salvador Perez to name two — but remember, this is one of the youngest teams in baseball. If the Orioles and A’s can make the playoffs, the Royals’ time has to come at some point.