The last time the McPherson High School boys soccer team played Newton High School at Fischer Field, the Bullpups went to double overtime and lost to the Railers 2-1 during the 2017 season opener. In the past three seasons, the Bullpups have opened their season against the Railers, and it always ended with a little bit of adversity. With the match being on the road, McPherson looks to even the score by getting a road win for the first time at Newton on Saturday.

“I'm excited to get going with the games obviously and see what this team can do," Bullpups head coach Chris Adrian said. "Newton is like a rivalry game for us because we see them in the summer in some of the scrimmages that we play. A lot of the players know guys on that team. So it's always a fun rivalry for us."

Newton is 2-1 against the Bullpups in the last three seasons. Last year, the Bullpups got back at them by beating the Railers 4-1 at home. However, the Bullpups have never beaten the Railers at Newton during their annual opening series.

A win at Newton could not only set the tone for this season, but it could also mean more for the seniors knowing that they know eachother on a personal level.

"It's always competitive because we had some really good matchups with them in the past four years with the seniors here especially," Adrian said. "So they are looking to make sure they go out on top with the win. I rather play that type of team than a team that you know you're going to win because that doesn't show you a lot, but we're going to learn a lot on that first game."

It was a down year for the Railers as they went on to finish 3-14 last season. Now a year older, the Railers will be led by their junior midfielder Michael Velasquez, who recorded five goals in his sophomore season.

Because it's a heated rivalry, the Bullpups won't be dropping their guards as they prepare for their opener.

"They are always a physical team and playing at their place is unique because they have a narrow field, which is exactly the same size that we are practicing on out here," Adrian said. "This is going to prepare us nicely for that game, but it's always very physical when we play against them.

Not everyone is going to be in tip-top shape when it comes to the first game of the season, so we gotta make sure we play controlled, we're not panicking because if we play that way, we're going to be running ourselves to the ground and run out of gas. We got to make sure that we are playing our game, but it's always competitive like I said, and we're looking forward to that."

Kickoff will begin at 11 a.m. at Fischer Stadium.

Adrian doesn't mind Schrader

playing football

Last weekend, Drew Schrader decided to try out as a placekicker for the McPherson football team during its scrimmage. As he made quite an impression during the scrimmage on Saturday, Schrader wants to manage playing both soccer and football this year.

"It was a little bit out of the blue for me, but I don't blame him," Adrian said. "If anyone has coached Drew Schrader before, you would want him on your team. That's just simple as that. That kid is one of the most hard-working players, and when he has something in his mind, he will do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal."

Schrader was the Bullpups' third leading scorer with 10 goals and four assists last season. Adrian was aware that his returning senior wanted to play football three weeks ahead of time. Despite his concerns about staying healthy, Adrian supports his decision, and he knows he's going to play a significant role for both teams.

"He's going to play an important part for both teams, and we want to make sure he is healthy by the end of the year, so when we get into postseason play, we've got him," Adrian said.

Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at pholland@mcphersonsentinel.comor follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_oroursports