McPherson High School suffered a Halloween trick for the ages Thursday night in their regular season finale against Chapman.
The Bullpups, winners of three straight and 2-0 in Class 4A District 15 coming into McPherson Stadium for Senior Night, fell 50-46 to a Fighting Irish team who had only won twice against opponents with a combined 2-14 record.
“You have to credit Chapman,” McPherson coach Tom Young said. “They’re a strong, physical team. We knew that going in. I don’t know how they have the record that they do.”
Much like against Abilene, the Bullpups found themselves in a shoot-out, with neither defense able to slow down the opposing offense much at all. Between MHS and the Irish, 921 yards of total offense were left on the field.
Chapman had its best day passing of the season, as Bryce Winters connected on 6-of-8 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns.
The passing game of the Bullpups was almost nonexistent, with junior Kyler Kinnamon going 5-for-10 with 54 yards and a pair of interceptions.
It was Kinnamon and senior TJ Stites who provided the offensive spark on the ground, however, as the dynamic duo combined for 367 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Kinnamon, in particular, added to his history making season, racking up 198 yards on 16 carries with 5 touchdowns.
The junior, who was already over 1,000 yards on the year in both rushing and passing, now sits just around 200 yards away from breaking Dwayne Chandler’s single-season rushing record of 1,536 yards.
Scoring wasn’t the issue against Chapman (3-6, 1-2 District 15), as the Bullpups found ways to do that. It was keeping the Fighting Irish out of the end zone that seemed to stymie the Pups.
Logan Lexow rushed 31 times for 202 yards and three touchdowns, including a 72-yard sprint in the first quarter that came not 20 seconds after Kinnamon had scored on a 42-yard run.
The game devolved into a battle of one-upmanship, though Kinnamon looked to have given the knock-out blow in the third quarter with a pair of long touchdown runs that gave the Bullpups the lead, the first of which set up by an Anthony Jarvis touchdown.
The trio of Lexow, Winters and Gavin Canaday kept the Irish in the game, though, with Canaday the only Chapman receiver to catch the ball.
He had touchdowns of 75- and 54-yards in the fourth quarter, each time giving the Irish back the lead after MHS (5-4, 2-1) would reclaim it.
Canaday’s final touchdown with 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter proved to be the game winner.
Chapman finished the game with 505 total yards of offense.
“It’s disappointing,” Young said. “We’re executing pretty well on the offensive side of the ball, but we’re not defensively.”
Page 2 of 2 - Young was quick to place the blame for the defensive let-down of the last two weeks squarely on his own shoulders.
“Our defensive coaches work their tail ends off,” Young said. “They really put a lot of time and energy to develop a game plan. It’s all on me. They go through me, I’m the one who gives final approval. I thought we were in pretty good shape against [Chapman], but it certainly didn’t turn out that way. Right now, we’re just not playing with any degree of discipline.”
The Pups have a short turn-around to try to find the answers on defense, as they will be right back at McPherson Stadium on Tuesday in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs. MHS will face Clay Center (6-3, 2-1), who shut out Concordia to claim the second playoff spot in District 16 behind Goodland.
A game time wasn’t available as of press time.
Contact Chris Swick by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter, @SwickSentinel.