It wasn’t how anyone imagined the McPherson High School boys’ soccer team’s season ending.
MHS was favored by many to be one of the two teams squaring off for the Class 4-1A state championship. Instead, the Bullpups found themselves in the third place game against Kansas City Christian following a tough loss to Tonganoxie on Friday evening.
Additionally, head coach Chris Adrian found himself without the services of seniors Alex Glidden, Xzavier Torres and junior Adrian Garcia, who received red cards during the Tonganoxie game and were ineligible to participate in Saturday’s finals at Kansas City-Piper High School.
“I told the guys this will be the most difficult game we play all season,” Adrian said. “Not necessarily because of the team we are playing, but because our goal of winning state, which has been driving this team all season, was no longer achievable.”
The Bullpups responded to the challenge, grabbing an early lead off a Logan Schrag shot in the 12th minute. However, an own goal by McPherson would tie it at 1-1 at the close of the first half.
Kansas City Christian would give McPherson a break and the lead once more in the second half off an own goal of their own, but the Panthers would tie it back up with a goal in the 80th minute to force overtime.
Dylan Blosser, Ryan Horton and Peter Horton all made penalty kicks in the first shootout round, but Kansas City Christian would respond in kind, leading to the sudden victory shootout.
Adam Bowers would kick in a line drive for the Bullpups in the first attempt, with Jacob Trott responding for the Panthers.
Nick Torres’ attempt would be blocked on the next shot, giving Kansas City Christian the 3-2 victory when Tucker Swiastyn’s shot would go past MHS goaltender Dylan Stos.
Afterwards, Adrian said he was proud of the effort his players put in during what he called the game the most grueling test of the season.
“This team went through more adversity in these games than we had the entire season,” Adrian said. “And, to their credit, they never gave up. Saying I am proud of the way the guys played is an understatement.”
McPherson finished their season at 17-4.