Come Friday, McPherson has a shot of reaching the Class 4A State Playoff semifinals.
The only thing standing in their way is the top ranked team in Class 4A.
The No. 3 Bullpups (10-1) will travel northeast Friday night to face No. 1 Holton (11-0) in what will prove to be the longest road trip yet for McPherson.
MHS has a much more even offensive scheme than Holton entering the game, with the Bullpups averaging 209 yards passing and 213 yards rushing per game.
Head coach Tom Young’s Bullpups are coming off an impressive offensive showing in their 42-36 defeat of Andale Saturday, during which quarterback Kyler Kinnamon went 12-for-26 and 304 yards in the air and had eight carries for 67 yards.
On the season, Kinnamon is averaging 182.1 yards per game and has found the endzone 17 times. Only twice in McPherson’s 11 games has he been held to less than 100 yards passing — the season opener against El Dorado and the opening game of the Class 4A playoffs against Clay Center.
Austin O’Bannon showed signs of what Young and the MHS coaches have been looking for in him this season during the Andale game, as he exploded for 194 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries.
On the season, O’Bannon has put up 1,115 yards rushing, averaging about 115 yards a game and 5.75 yards per carry for the Bullpups
McPherson will need that kind of offensive output against Holton, whose crushing running attack dominated Wichita Collegiate Saturday on their way to a 28-0 victory.
Head coach Brooks Barta’s Wildcats enter tomorrow’s game averaging 424.9 yards rushing per game to only 36.8 yards passing.
Twice this year, Holton has eclipsed 500 yards rushing in a single game; a 51-12 drubbing of Wamego on Oct. 12 and a 57-26 win over Hesston to open up the Class 4A playoffs.
Junior Drake Ewing is the centerpiece of the Holton offense, having rushed for 1,213 yards on 135 carries so far this season.
Ewing is averaging almost nine yards a carry and will challenge MHS’s defense to step up in a similar manner to what they did against Andale, who had a similar reliance on the running game thanks to junior Hunter Knoblauch.
This means the key to a MHS victory will be in the Bullpups’ ability to force Holton to go to the air and to keep the Holton defense guessing.
If they get past the Wildcats, another stiff test awaits in the semifinals on Nov. 16, as McPherson would meet the winner of Mulvane and Buhler.
Kickoff from Holton is set for 7 p.m. Friday. Seating at Holton stadium will be limited to one side. Additionally, it has been announced that visitors’ seating will be reserved and roped off in the lower west section of the stands, with student seating in the west endzone.
Page 2 of 2 - If you can’t make the game, video of it will be streamed online at www.810varsity.com.