As good as the day was on Thursday was for the McPherson Middle School seventh- and eighth-grade football teams, it was equally as disappointing for the seventh- and eighth-grade volleyball teams.

Eighth-grade football scores third shutout

SALINA—For the third straight game, the McPherson Middle School eighth-grade football team scored a shutout on Thursday, this time taking down Salina Lakewood 28-0 on the road in Salina.

Hunter Alvord put the Junior Pups on the scoreboard first when he completed a 61-yard touchdown pass to Sam Becker. Jaytin Gumm followed that up with a 20-yard scoring run, then Hadley Backhus tossed a 45-yard scoring pass to Becker before Mason Miller rounded out the scoring with a one-yard plunge into the end zone. Alvord and Tucker Pelnar scored on two-point conversions.

“I can’t say enough about our offensive line,” noted Head Coach TJ Jackson. “The big guys are going both ways, and the amount of pancake blocks we saw today was tremendous. It is easy to run behind guys who do things like that. Plus, both our quarterbacks were throwing great balls and when our receivers weren’t catching a pass they were blocking everywhere. They truly have each other’s back through everything that happened on the field.”

While Gumm led the McPherson running attack by picking up 77 yards on 14 carries, Backhus and Alvord shared quarterback duties and combined to complete four-of-seven attempts good for 143 yards and the two touchdowns. Becker only caught three passes, but they went for 138 yards and two scores.

When it came to who won the game for the Junior Pups, Coach Jackson had no doubt it was the defense, praising them by saying, “Defensively, our boys pitched their third straight shutout. Passes were deflected, tackles made for a loss, fumble recoveries and near the end of the game when they had a chance to score, a huge interception was made to keep Lakewood out of the end zone for good.”

Among the leaders on the stout defense were Tucker Pelnar and Dawson Gottwald who each recorded eight tackles, while Gottwald also had a pass deflection. Mason Miller added seven tackles, while Trenton Pelnar had FIVE and Becker scored four tackles and a fumble recovery. Alvord recorded three tackles, a pass deflection and the score stopping interception.

“It is easy to say things like this was one of the best team efforts I have been around,” concluded Coach Jackson. “But when you have five guys who carried the ball, two quarterbacks that played a half when not on defense, and over 11 guys record tackles on defense, you know this group has something going. Getting to coach teams this smart makes our job so fun.”

Next up for the eighth-graders will be on the road to Maize on Thursday, Sept. 20.

Seventh-grade football gains 38-6 victory

SALINA—On the home field Thursday, the McPherson Middle School seventh-grade football team gained a convincing 38-6 victory over visiting Salina Lakewood.

The seventh-grade Junior Pups hit the jackpot from the opening kick as the opening kickoff was taken by Jayce Schriner and taken back 65-yards for a touchdown, which was then followed up by a defensive stop as Javyn Alexander returned an interception 23 yards for yet another score.

Schriner twice ran for touchdowns, including one from 50 yards and the second from 20, while Drew Waner scored on a three-yard plunge. Kreighton Kanitz connected with Alexander on a 35 yard passing touchdown and then connected with Blaise Hoover for a two-point conversion to round out the scoring for the day.

As a team, the Junior Pup offense compiled 133 yards on the ground, including 104 by Schriner. Kanitz ended the day with 52 yards passing, 50 of which went to Alexander. On defense, Alexander and Eli Clarke led the team in tackles, while Clarke scored three quarterback sacks and the team ended up with three interceptions and a blocked punt.

“Offensively the line pulled together and made some big holes for our backfield,” said Head Coach Brandt Busse. “Defensively we were stout. Overall it was a great day for our guys. Extremely proud of the way the guys bounced back this week with the win. We will look to gain some more momentum next week.

Up next for the seventh-graders will be another home game on Thursday, Sept. 20 when they play host to Maize.

Eighth-grade Spikers lose to Newton

It was a rough day for the McPherson Middle School eighth-grade volleyball teams as both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams were humbled in defeat at the hands of Newton.

The ‘A’ team Lady Junior Pups dropped a very tough, close, two-set match with Newton, 17-25, 24-26, dropping their season mark to 3-8.

“It was another pair of close sets against Newton,” noted Head Coach Jacque Colgrove. “Unfortunately, the girls just can’t quite get over the hump and win a match against them. The second set was the best they played this week and I loved the energy the girls brought to the court tonight. I hope that continues.

The ‘B’ team also worked a couple of very hard fought sets only to lose to Newton 22-25, 19-25, giving them a 7-6 record for the season.

“The girls didn’t quite give their best effort tonight,” commented Coach Stevie Stockham. “They were not mentally prepared to play. We will work on skills and attitude at practice and get them next time.”

The eighth-grade spikers will return to the court on Monday, September 17 when they travel to Great Bend for matches with Great Bend and Hays.

Seventh-grade Spikers drop two to Newton

The McPherson Middle School seventh-grade volleyball teams suffered to rough, tough losses to Newton at home on Thursday.

With the ‘A’ team, the Lady Junior Pups won the opening set (25-16), only to lose a hard fought, tight second and third sets (22-25, 11-15). The two losses now drops their season record to 9-4.

“This was a loss for us,” commented Head Coach Shelley Bohme during her coach reflections. “We played great volleyball for the first and most of the second set. I was extremely pleased with how well we set the ball up and attacked, and how well we covered tips. After a timeout in set two we were able to get our energy up and make plays to tie the set, but just couldn’t quite close it out. After pulling within one in set three, we had too many close balls that we didn’t get to and missed some key serves.”

“Despite the loss, there were several positives,” concluded Coach Brohme. “The girls hustled, had some nice digs and really helped each other out. Madi Moors and Alex Romero continue to do a great job of getting the ball to our hitters, and our hitters (Karter Alvord, Danice Brunk, Olivia Cheatham and Kaya Lowery) were strong at the net and are getting better with each game. Macy Rinker and Caitlyn Pearson also served the ball well tonight, while Reanna Eilrich is getting more confident as our libero as she stepped in and made some great passes tonight. We’re looking forward to being able to have some good practice time before our next matches.”

In the ‘B’ team match, Newton scored yet another straight set victory, winning 15-25, 21-25, to drop the ‘B’ teams season mark to 7-6.

“We had a really slow start tonight and could never really catch up from that,” said Coach Abby Bradstreet. “We had some amazing serves and our communication was excellent tonight but we definitely need to work on our serve receive and covering. The girls have come such a long ways since the beginning of the season, but we still have lots of room for improvement. We are all looking forward to a week of practices so we can rest up and tweak some things.”

The seventh-grade spikers will not be back on the court until Thursday, Sept. 20 when they travel to Salina for a triangular with Salina South and Newton.

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