Before the start of the 2018 season, the McPherson High School football team were questioned about the defense with only three starters returning. The Bullpups shut down those concerns after shutting out Salina South High School 21-0 in their home opener on Friday.
The Cougars weren't able to get the offense going all night. Salina's quarterback Terran Galloway was pressured by the Bullpups' pass rushers led by both Khalil Lisbon and Cody Stufflebean. The Bullpups sacked Galloway six times and created four turnovers against the Cougs.
"We knew he was a sophomore quarterback and very athletic," head coach Jace Pavlovich said. "We wanted to take his athleticism away from the game, and we were bringing guys from left and right. We wanted to put pressure on him and make him beat us."
The Cougars had an opportunity to put points on the board while they were in McPherson's territory after a short punt, but on 4th & 1, Lisbon made a key stop in the backfield with a tackle-for-loss on Salina's Ty Garrett. Bullpups only allowed 86 total yards on the Cougars.
"We had some guys that stepped up and made plays," Pavlovich said. "Defensively Coach (Chet) Harlin puts them in the right position, and they made plays tonight. We felt pretty good about our defense coming into this based off what we had done over the summer. Our guys did not disappoint."
Running back Jace Kinnamon set the tone early in the first quarterback when he ran a 51-yard touchdown to put the Bullpups on the board.
The offensive line struggled early in the first half protecting quarterback Kyler Hoppes, who was pressured by the Cougar's d-line. It was only 6-0 at halftime.
The offense was able to move the ball better and put up 14 more points in the second half. Hoppes threw one touchdown pass to Aaron Powell in a post route into the end zone.
Backup running back and starting defensive back Jakob Feil was everywhere on the field and played an X-factor for the Bullpups. He ran a 36 yarder to give the Bullpups their third touchdown of the night. He also caught an interception late in the fourth quarter to close out the game. He may be 5'7, but he didn't play that way against Salina South.
"He's a bulldog," Pavlovich said. "Yeah he's small in stature but the kid is just have heart and got a great ability to go along with that. We were looking for Jake to make a lot of plays and in the future."
With their first win under their belts, the Bullpups now have their eyes on the Winfield Vikings next Friday at Winfield High School.Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Hoppes 12-23 169 yards 1 TD 1 INT
McPherson Rushing Leader:
Kinnamon 24 carries 134 yards 1TD
McPherson Receiving Leader:
Hoover 4 REC. 94 yards
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_or our sports page @MacCountySports