The McPherson High School football team normally starts play on Friday nights at 7 p.m. but Friday night against Rose Hill they were done by 7:30 p.m. as severe weather and a big lead caused the game to be called early.

The McPherson High School football team normally starts play on Friday nights at 7 p.m. but Friday night against Rose Hill they were done by 7:30 p.m. as severe weather and a big lead caused the game to be called early. The Bullpups beat the Rockets 35-0 to improve to 5-1 on the season as they head into district play next week.

According to McPherson Athletic Director Shane Backhus it was a simple decision to end the game, as the dark clouds began to close in and a tornado warning was issued in Northwestern McPherson County. Just after the Bullpups final score at the 7:01 mark of the third quarter, Backhus met with game officials and representatives from Rose Hill and all agreed it was time to end it.

"I was just told the game was going to be called," said Pups coach Jace Pavlovich. "I sure would have loved to play some more football. There's a lot of guys that we really wanted to get some reps tonight."

Mac opened the scoring in the first quarter on a TD pass from Kyler Hoppes to Mason Thrash just over three minutes into the game. The Drew Labertew point after kick was good and the Pups led 7-0.

A surprising, answering drive by Rose Hill, aided by some questionable penalties against McPherson, took the Rockets inside the Bullpup red zone. However the Bullpups defense was determined to keep the Rockets off the board and forced a turnover on downs and Mac took over on offense at their own nine yard line. It was all Bullpups the rest of the way.

McPherson scored its second touchdown with 4:48 to go in the first half on a Ben Nikkel 3-yard run, Labertew's PAT was good and McPherson led 14-0.

On the next drive, after a 13-yard Rocket punt into the win, McPherson drove down and scored on a nice 13-yard roll-out keeper by Hoppes, who was looking to pass but tucked the ball away and jaunted into the end zone, reaching the ball over the line for the score. A mishandled snap on the PAT led to a fire call and a completed two-point conversion pass as Labertew picked the ball up and threw it to Thomas Diggs which extended McPherson's lead to 22-0 with 1:52 left in the first half.

McPherson would have been happy to take that lead into the break but a fumble by Rose Hill gave them another chance on offense and they took full advantage of it. Hoppes threw a slant pass left to a wide-open Tayln Huff who took it in for the 10-yard touchdown. Labertew's kick was true and the Bullpups were up 29-0 at the half.

McPherson kicked off to Rose Hill to start the third quarter, all the while folks in the stands were watching the game with one eye and their phones with the other, as a tornado warning was issued. It would only take one score for Mac to get the clock running, if they could hold the Rockets on this first drive, and they did.

As the lightning began to strike in the distant, the Bullpups marched down field and scored on a Hoppes to Gabe Hoover TD strike. Labertew's PAT hit the post and fell away and the Pups were up 35-0 and would get the clock running, if the game continued, which it did not. The Pups get the win over the Rockets 35-0 but Pavlovich still praised a pretty good Rockets team.

"Their quarterback's a stud, he's a very good football player and they've got a great scheme over there. They ran a lot of RPO (run-pass option) action and as aggressive as our defense is it kind of caught us off guard a little bit early but our guys did settle in."

McPherson celebrated Fall Homecoming Friday night with Elle Barrett crowned Queen and Ryan Ronsse crowned King. Baileea Crist, Aislinn Hughes and Kelsey Wilson were the other candidates for Queen while Darrius Armstrong, Drew Labertew and Thomas Diggs were nominated for King. Baron Brown was the Homecoming Prince and Elles Pavlovich was the Princess.

McPherson begins district play next week as they travel to Hays to play the Indians. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Fort Hays State University.

"We like the way our team is playing and we're healthy, which is fantastic," Pavlovich said, looking ahead to next week. "We're really looking forward to the match up next week. To be honest with you I think really they are the surprise of 4A. Their kids are physical and they play hard but they definitely pass the eye test so we're going to be in for a dog fight we anticipate next Friday."

Contact Matt Cole by email at and follow him on Twitter @MacSentinel