It is still a maturity process for the McPherson High School football team according to head coach Jace Pavlovich, but after shutting out Winfield High School 47-0 in their home opener, the Bullpups are making strides as they improve to 2-0 of the year.
The Bullpups were still struggling on offense as it remained scoreless for the majority of the first quarter. However, they were moving the ball effectively and moving the chains led by their tailback Jakob Feil, who rushed for 74 yards on 15 carries and scored three touchdowns — two were on the ground.
The defense showed their dominance, especially in the passing game as Winfield only threw for 28 yards. The offense started to click late in the first quarter and would eventually lead 20-0 at halftime. In the second half, the Bullpups started scoring more points as the passing game got settled after making some adjustments. McPherson would record 434 total yards on offense.
"We got better up front," Pavlovich said. "The second half, in particular, started moving bodies around. We made a few adjustments at halftime in our passing game particularly. Our kids did handle the adjustments at halftime really well and executed. These guys were tremendous when we were fine from all cylinders."
The Bullpups scored four more touchdowns in the second half. Kaleb Hoppes connected with his primary target Aaron Powell, who tied with Trey Buckbee with six catches, but led with 112 yards and a touchdown. One of the highlights of the game was Powell making a one-handed catch on a deep route that would later set up a rushing touchdown by Hoppes.
"It's unfair what he is able to do in the passing game, Pavlovich said. "That's what attracted Coach (Tom) Young years ago. We have so many athletes in this school. If we can just get them out and throw the ball to them, we're going to be successful."
McPherson lacked depth in the backfield with Matt Ramey, Sky Schriner and Neil Raymond all unavailable due to their injuries, so Aiden Hoover stepped in at tailback late in the fourth quarter and gave the Bullpups their seventh touchdown to close out the game.
"Aiden Hoover is too athletic to keep off the field right now. We had to find a spot for him on the field, and we did that at tailback," Pavlovich said. "Going into this season, who would've thought that we were thin at tailback? We lose two tailbacks in the matter of a couple of days, and we're scrambling around a little bit. Guys have stepped up and fit roles nicely."
The Bullpups will host El Dorado High School next Friday at 7 p.m. at McPherson Stadium.
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