The McPherson High School football team is hoping hard work in the summer will yield positive results in the fall.

Coming off a 10-win season and a trip to the state semifinals, the Bullpups have experienced success the last two seasons. While McPherson will be a bit more inexperienced than last year, the Bullpups still return many familiar faces capable of making big plays.

Friday morning at McPherson Stadium, the Bullpups hosted Hays and Kingman in a light-contact scrimmage. McPherson had many new players step up, especially defensively, but it was the returning starters who stole the show.

Quarterback Kyler Hoppes was back under center for the Bullpups, and he did a great job distributing the ball to playmakers Tayln Huff, Gabe Hoover, Chandler Wiard, and Cody Stufflebean. Returning running back Jace Kinnamon was also electric, as neither Hays or Kingman had much of an answer for the senior.

McPherson head coach Jace Pavlovich knows he will rely on his returning starters to make plays throughout the season.

‘We have a lot coming back this fall,” Pavlovich said. “Defensively, we don’t have everything figured out yet, but we have guys who are stepping up.”

Overall, the opportunity to practice against two teams in a competitive atmosphere is what Friday’s scrimmage was all about. Hays, who moved up to 5A, and Kingman, a 3A school, will not be on McPherson’s schedule this fall, which allowed the Bullpups to open up the playbook and experiment in a few areas.

“What we like about camp is we’re not concerned about winning a state championship, we’re just focused on getting better,” Pavlovich said. “We’re going to be ready to go this fall.”

The McPherson football team will take Saturday off before heading to the annual Fort Hays State camp on Sunday. The Bullpups will see elite competition while coming together as a team, according to Pavlovich.

“It’s a good team-bonding experience,” Pavlovich said. “Our guys will stay in the dorms and grow as a team.”

The Fort Hays State football camp is scheduled to run from June 10-12.