For the second straight Friday, McPherson High turned the football over on its first possession, which Abilene converted into an early touchdown and 7-0 lead.
The Bullpups then realized they were going to have to play, that the Cowboys weren’t going to give them anything.
MHS responded with 26 uninterrupted points, but unlike last week, the Cowboys didn’t go away behind standout quarterback Andy Wilson, who kept them in the game as long as he could before the Bullpups eventually pulled away to a 47-14 Senior Night victory to move to 7-1 on the year.
MHS clinched a playoff spot with the win, as it’s 2-0 in the district, while Smoky Valley and Chapman are both 1-1 after the Vikings topped the Fighting Irish, 21-14. MHS plays Thursday at Chapman, while Smoky Valley goes to Abilene.
The Bullpups were again sluggish at the start, as Abilene was energized by the early turnover to rattle off an 11-play, 47-yard drive, capped by Wilson’s 14-yard TD pass to Keil Kelly for the 7-0 lead.
“The first offensive play, we did the same thing as last week,” MHS coach Tom Young said. “I’m ashamed to admit it, but it was the same play, too. We will not call that play on the first play next week.”
But normalcy soon returned, as the Bullpups scored four straight touchdowns, which included a 5-yard run by Dalton Clark, an 18-yard flip from Kyler Kinnamon to Keaton Sorenson and a 6-yard run by Kinnamon. MHS thought it had connected with the knockout punch when Marcus Houghton picked off a Wilson pass and returned it 52 yards for a 26-7 lead, but to Abilene’s credit, Wilson picked apart a loose MHS defense on its final drive of the first half, hooking up with Kelly again, this time from the 4, to cut it to 26-14. In a game similar to the very first one of the year against El Dorado, Wilson dinked and dunked his way to 17 of 27 in the half, as the Cowboys had the ball 39 plays to just 25 for MHS.
“We were a little inconsistent in the first half,” Young said. “We had some errors on both sides of the ball. Defensively, we had some interception opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of. Offensively, we weren’t quite as sharp as we normally are.”
As usual, though, the proper adjustments were made and MHS scored 21 third-quarter points to blow it open, with Austin O’Bannon scoring twice on runs of 3 and 18 yards, while Clark powered in from the 10.
“The third quarter was about as well as we could play,” Young said. “Both running the ball and throwing the ball, and defensively. It was just a great all-around effort.”
Wilson kept winging it in the second half, but the Cowboys couldn’t break through, as they ran into a brick wall on the ground and finished with just 21 yards rushing. Wilson closed 26 of 43, but was betrayed by his receivers at times with some crucial drops. Kelly did have 10 catches for 117 yards.
Clark finished with 134 yards on 18 carries, while Kinnamon was efficient with 11 of 17 for 168 yards and no picks.