McPherson High's starting quarterback Kyler Hoppes is not your average quarterback. He's listed at 6-foot 172 pounds. Against all odds, Hoppes wants to not only make history but prove he can play quarterback at the next level.
Hoppes, going into his senior year, he and the Bullpups' football team have a chance to make history as he wants to be the first quarterback to bring a state title to McPherson. Last season, the Bullpups fell short in the Class 4A Division-1 semifinals, where they lost to Andale High School 27-20. Luckily for Hoppes, everyone on offense is back, and expectations high so are the pressure.
"We're really excited. We kind of got a target on our backs. Everyone is expecting us to do good," Hoppes said. "We got to go out and prove ourselves. I'm really excited about what we can do."
Hoppes is one of the top-rated quarterbacks to watch in the state according to multiple sources. Last year, after beating out Gabe Hoover, now wide receiver, for the starting quarterback job, he threw 64 percent of his passes for 1936 yards and 23 touchdowns. The Bullpups, being a run-first team would average 35 points a night. Even though his junior was his coming out party, where are all the college offers? At the moment, the senior has none. Hoppes has been working on his game all of last summer, improving on his throws, 7-on-7 competitions and getting bigger and stronger in the weight room. There's no question he has a goal of playing quarterback at the next level after McPherson.
"It's all about getting it quick and accurate. If you're late on throws, then it's not going to be there anymore, so you got work on getting throws out quickly, and being accurate with it," Hoppes said. "I can make every single throw I need to make, and I know every read to make. So, it's important to me to run the offense."
Hoppes idolizes NFL quarterback Baker Mayfield, and both share similar traits. Mayfield was undersized and underestimated during his high school career. He was never highly recruited, and yet Mayfield went on to win the Heisman Trophy in Oklahoma University in 2017, and later went No.1 overall to the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL draft, where he is competing for the starting quarterback job. Hoppes tries to emulate his game, knowing that both have a lot in common.
"He's undersize too and was overlooked by everyone, but he proved everyone wrong," Hoppes said. "He has that swagger that you need to play to play the position."
The Bullpups have one scrimmage this Friday at 7:40 p.m. After that their focus is on their first game against Salina South High School. Kickoff will be on Aug.31 at 7 p.m. at McPherson Stadium.
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