It was only two seasons ago on Nov. 3, the McPherson High School football team scored a touchdown to only be down by one point during the Class 4A Division-1 playoffs.

Head coach Jace Pavlovich decided to go for a two-point conversion against league-rival Buhler High School with a trick play called "Jade," where quarterback Kyler Hoppes motioned to his right, and running back Jace "Bus" Kinnamon was in the shotgun.

Kinnamon took the snap and rushed to his left then tossed it to Gabe Hoover, who went to his right. Hoover then threw it to Hoppes for the game-winning touchdown. Everyone in McPherson Stadium rushed the field after the 15-14 win.

That was one of many memories Kinnamon will cherish as a Bullpup.

After graduating with the class of 2019, Kinnamon has been keeping himself busy in the weight room, at the Turkey Creek Golf Course where he works, and traveling with his family and friends.

Likely the highlight of his summer is when he got a chance to be the head coach for a day as he coached the McPherson High School School summer basketball team in place of his dad, Kurt, due to KSHSAA rules where all coaches are not allowed to be in contact with their players from July 1-7.

In his coaching debut, the younger Kinnamon helped lead the summer Bullpups to the championship on July 2.

"Coaching was a fun experience," Kinnamon said. "Trying to figure out the flow of the game and what lineups worked is different than actually playing, so I really enjoyed that."

Kinnamon has hopes of becoming a head coach full time. He doesn't have to look too far for a mentor because his father stood by him all four years playing Bullpup basketball.

"Playing for my dad has been great. He's definitely a great coach that knows when to pressure players and when to back off of them when they need it," Kinnamon said. "Of all the things I've learned from him, it would probably be patience. This year was pretty frustrating, and he didn't take it out on me or anyone on the team, but he just tried to encourage us and push us to be the best that we could be."

Being an interim coach, along with coaching his recreation basketball team during the winter season, is quite the resume booster as he follows the footsteps of Kurt.

"Coaching is definitely something that I would pursue later on down the line," Jace said. "I enjoy watching and learning, so I think I'd make a good coach sometime in the future."

While setting his coaching career to the side, Kinnamon plans to walk-on for the Emporia State University football team this coming fall.

Kinnamon led the Bullpups to two 1,000 rushing yards seasons (1,079 in 2017, 1,794 in 2018) and shattered all the rushing records in Bullpup history. Unfortunately, no colleges showed enough interest to give him a scholarship, but Kinnamon, who plans on studying health and human performance with hopes of going to physical therapy school, still wanted to give it a go with the Hornets and see how far it would take him.

He plans on playing running back but will keep his options open if necessary.

"I decided to keep playing football because in the spring, I just already missed doing everything with the team, so I thought it was something that I'd like to do," he said.

As for the Bullpups, there won't be another "Bus" in the backfield to carry the load. Kinnamon had plenty of proud moments on the field. However, that game-winning play against Buhler in the playoffs is No. 1 on his list.

He also has plenty of guys he will miss playing for.

"The thing I'll miss most about Mac High is definitely the coaching staff. I know that they all care about me and always wanted me to succeed in whatever I did no matter the circumstance," Kinnamon said.

Kinnamon is confident in the Bullpups this year. For two seasons, the Bullpups had been one game shy of making the state finals for the first time in school history.

Kinnamon believes things will be different this year, especially at running back, which will be led by Jakob Feil.

"Next year I expect our football team to be better than we were last year," Kinnamon said. "They have a lot of great returners, and some underclassmen that I think will really prove themselves this year. At running back, I expect Jakob Feil to be really explosive for them. He can definitely do things that I can't, and I expect him to be as good as anybody in the state."

Kinnamon did leave with one piece of advice for the returning Bullpups as they make another attempt to reaching state.

"Those extra reps in the weight room count," he said. "We were six yards away from going to the state championship, so I don't think one skipped rep won't make the difference."

Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page.