There are good defenses, there are great defenses, and then there’s McPherson High’s defense.

There are good defenses, there are great defenses, and then there’s McPherson High’s defense.

It’s been six weeks since the McPherson High varsity defense has given up a touchdown and it’s no coincidence the Bullpups are 6-0 in those games. Not one opposing offense has been able to figure out this McPherson defense, and Wamego was no different Friday night at McPherson Stadium.

With a chance to secure a playoff spot and perhaps more, the Bullpups suffocated Wamego 47-0. Thanks to a Hays victory over Abilene, the Bullpups can do no worse than tie for first place in District 8. With a win next week against Abilene, the Bullpups will be the undisputed champions of the district.

Led by a defense that is simply playing on a different level, the sky is the limit for the Bullpups moving forward.

“We had great execution from our defense tonight,” head coach Jace Pavlovich said. “These guys are so physical, they’re smart football players, they understand their assignments. We’re able to run a bunch of different schemes defensively which causes confusion for an offense.”

As great as the McPherson defense has been over the course of the season, the offense has played at a high level during the six-game winning streak. Junior quarterback Kyler Hoppes is enjoying a breakout season, while junior running back Jace Kinnamon is a nightmare from a physicality standpoint for opposing defenses. Throw in an extremely balanced wide receiver group and an offensive line that is improving every day, and it’s not just the defense opposing coaches have to worry about.

The offense, albeit explosive, has a tendency to start slow. The Bullpups got off to a rough start against Wamego, as it took four offensive drives and the entire first quarter before the Pups found the end zone.

McPherson shot itself in the foot on a few occasions to start the game in the form of dropped passes, penalties, and miscues on special teams. However, the defense was dominant long enough for the offense to find its groove.

After a scoreless first quarter, Kinnamon plowed forward from seven yards to put the Pups on the board moments into the second quarter. From there, the Bullpups flat out dominated.

Kinnamon scored his 10th touchdown of the season moments later, capping off a 92 yard drive that took eight plays and only 2:12 off the clock.

Less than a minute later, Tyson Stites jumped in front of a Wamego pass, secured the interception, and took it to the house to give the Bullpups a 19-0 lead with 6:43 left in the half.

On the next McPherson possession, Hoppes was picked off on an incredible play by the Wamego defensive back. Wamego took over at the McPherson 20-yard line with a chance to get right back in the ball game.

But gaining 20 yards on the McPherson defense is a lot to ask for. Wamego went -8 yards and turned the ball over on downs over the next four plays. It was the closest the Red Raiders would get to the end zone all night.

The Bullpups added some insurance right before the half, as Gabe Hoover scored on a jet-sweep from three yards out to extend the lead to 26-0 at halftime.

On McPherson’s second half opening possession, Chandler Wiard scored on a similar jet-sweep play from eight yards out to put the Pups up 33-0.

Two minutes later, the Pups scored again on a 10-yard rushing touchdown from Austen Hunt; the drive was set up by a Ben Nikkel interception. Hoppes to Hoover concluded the scoring midway through the third quarter on a 27-yard touchdown pass. With a running clock the rest of the way, the Bullpups rolled to a 47-0 victory.

Similar to last year, the Bullpups are playing their best football at the right time. According to Pavlovich, it’s the offensive line that is the biggest improvement from last year’s team that made the quarterfinals of state.

“Defensively, we’re very good; that has not changed from last year. Offensively, I really feel our offensive line has progressed very well though the course of the season,” Pavlovich said. “They’re doing a tremendous job up front, opening up holes and during pass protection. We knew they were going to be a great unit, and they’re proving it now.”

The only thing standing in the way of McPherson and an undefeated district championship is Abilene next Friday. While the Cowboys are only 2-6 and coming off a 36-point loss to Hays, Pavlovich will have his team ready for the task at hand.

“We have to assume Abilene will be firing on all cylinders,” Pavlovich said. “We’re going to have to play well. Hopefully we can play well enough early to get some of our guys out and rest them up for the playoffs.”

The Bullpups host Abilene next Friday night at 7 p.m. for Senior Night.

Contact Gallagher Martin by email at and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel