The McPherson High School High School boys soccer team faced their toughest challenge this season against the undefeated Salina Central High School. Unfortunately, the Bullpups weren't able to get the job done at home as they were shutout by the Mustangs 2-0.

It was a shaky start in the beginning for McPherson. They were outplayed and outnumbered by the Mustangs' defense and Salina Central recorded eight shots on goal while Bullpups only put up two in the first half.

"We've had the tendency and a set of pattern to start a little slow," Mustangs head coach Dave Ouderkirk said. "We've talked the fact that we felt McPherson was going to start pretty strong, and we started slow so we don't let the combination bite us. It was something that we focused on."

The two goals, all in the first half, were led by the Grammer boys. The first one was off a penalty kick by Adrian Grammer before reaching the 31-minute mark. After the final 15 seconds to end the half, Central was on the board again led by Mark Grammer's corner kick after three shooting attempts by a group of Mustang players ganging up on goalkeeper Nathan Lloyd. Being in this position before, Bullpups head coach Chris Adrian hoped to get at least one goal to end the first half half, and they would be back in this game, but it didn't go as planned.

"The difference was that they made their set pieces and we didn't," Adrian said. They scored a goal on a free kick with the wind, and then that corner kick with 30 seconds left right before the half. "We can't give up a goal in the last 30 seconds. All you got to do is win one ball out the air, and the half is over."

It remained scoreless in the second half. The Bullpups weren't able to get any shot off to make it a closer game, despite shooting four shots on goal the entire game.

"I thought we've played right with this team," Adrian said. "I think we're at that level and I think their seniors was a difference in the game. They just got a lot of seniors on the team, so they knew how to manage that game in the end.

With the loss, the Bullpups fall to 5-2 for the year and will be at Mulvane High School as they take on the Wildcats on Tuesday, Sept.18 at 6:30 p.m

Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at pholland@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_or our sports page @MacCountySports