At times, McPherson High’s Class 4A second round playoff game with Andale Saturday night resembled an Oregon Ducks game, as an offensive shoot-out took place under the lights of McPherson Stadium.
McPherson struck first in the ball game, as running back Austin O’Bannon powered in from the goal line to give the Bullpups the early lead. Andale would answer almost immediately, as running back Hunter Knoblauch tore through the MHS defensive unit 54 yards for the score.
Knoblauch would score once more in the first period before the Bullpups battened down the hatches and found a way to stop the sophomore.
“The first period was just us getting caught off guard by their speed,” head coach Tom Young said after the game. “Knoblauch is just so fast, and we were slow to react. We had people there, we just couldn’t make tackles because he was hitting the holes as hard as he was.”
McPherson would respond in the second quarter by rattling off 21 unanswered points, including a beautiful nine yard pass from Kyler Kinnamon to Keaton Sorenson in the back corner of the endzone to make it 28-14 at the half. The two teams would then alternate scores throughout the second half, with McPherson coming out with the 42-36 victory.
Kinnamon had a monster day for the Bullpups, as he went 12-of-26 passing for 304 yards with two touchdowns. Kinnamon also added 67 yards on the ground, including a 28 yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Sorenson was Kinnamon’s favorite target Saturday, as they connected seven times for 194 yards and two scores.
“Keaton is just so hard to defend,” Young said. “He’s such a tall target, and he’s so athletic, that when he goes up high, it’s a real problem for defenses.”
O’Bannon broke out for 194 yards on 27 carries for McPherson, finding the endzone three times. Young praised his running back’s performance, stating it was what they were looking for all year long.
“Earlier in the year, I think he was looking for the home run too much,” Young said. “Now, he’s looking for the good gains, those four- and five-yard runs, and then the bigger yards come.”
The Pups improve to 10-1 on the season and will next travel to Holton, who shut down Wichita Collegiate 28-0 Saturday.
“It’s going to be a real challenge,” Young said. “They’ve got a heck of a tradition, and I know they’ve got a really talented team.”
Kick-off will be at 7 p.m. Friday.
MHS Listed First
First Downs — 21, 19.
Rushing Yards — 269, 227; Passing — 12-26-1 204, 15-29-1 263; Punts-Avg. — 1-20, 1-53; Fumbles-Lost — 1-1, 1-1.
Page 2 of 2 - MHS — O’Bannon 27-194, Kinnamon 8-67, Clark 4-9, Houghton 2-(-1).
Andale — Knoblauch 21-175, Probst 9-27, Smarsh 8-13, May 6-8, Brand 1-4.
MHS — Kinnamon 12-26-1-304.
Andale — Smarsh 15-29-1-263.
MHS — Sorenson 7-194, Houghton 3-72, Hamilton 1-35, O’Bannon 1-3.
Andale — Knoblauch 5-112, Seiler 5-60, Bugner 3-53, Bergkamp 1-34, May 1-4..