It looks like the McPherson High School football has finally met their match, and we might see the starters play a complete game Friday night when the Bullpups take on Goddard High School (9-2) in the Class 4A semifinals.
The Bullpups are continuing to chase history by making to state for the first time in school history. Last year the Bullpups were in the same position before falling to Andale High School, 20-13. Since then, the returning players, especially the seniors, have been grinding all year for this moment.
"We finally got to where we wanted to be," senior quarterback Kyler Hoppes said. "We lost last year in the semis, and our whole goal over the summer, in the weight room, is to get back to where we are now. Now we have to prove that we belong here because we haven't played a good schedule. We have to prove that we do belong in the semifinals."
Throughout the season, the starters for the Bullpups have lasted only the first half of each game because they have already put away the opposing teams early. That won't be the case Friday night against the Lions. The Bullpups will go into game, like they have been all year, with a chip on their shoulders.
"The chip is still there, and we're going to use it toward our advantage," Bullpups' head coach Jace Pavlovich said. "We've been there before and we fell short last year. "We're incredibly motivated to take that next step for the program."
Unlike the Bullpups, Goddard has been battled tested against quality opponents this season. Their only two losses came from Maize High School, 27-2 on Sept.9 and to Maize South High School, 23-22 in double overtime, on Oct.12.
Pavlovich knew before the start of the season that they would run into Goddard at some point in the playoffs, and that's why he and his coaching staff have been preparing for them right from the beginning.
"To be honest with you, I think they are a mirror image of us," Pavlovich said. "What you're going to see is two teams that are very similar. Two teams that are strong up front, and two teams that are used to winning. Someone has to go down Friday night, and neither teams are not going to back down from one another. They are a well coached team, very physical and they are everything that you think would face in the semifinal games."
Even though this will be the Bullpups' toughest opponent, the Bullpups are planning to continue to do what they do best all year.
"All we want to do is win the football game," Pavlovich said. "Last year's game against Maize South in the playoffs, we got up a couple scores, and we started playing safe offensively because our great defense is going to win us the game. Tomorrow, if we're up, we're going to continue to just melt the clock and rely on our defense."
Winner of Friday's semifinals will advance to the Class 4A State Championship in Topeka next Saturday and will take on the winner of the Linwood-Bishop Miege game.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports