It was not a dominating performance for the McPherson High School football team, but the Bullpups had enough power to get a 31-7 win over Rose Hill High School on Senior Night. The Bullpups are now 7-0 for the third time in school history, but Head coach Jace Pavlovich knows they have a lot more work to do with one game left in the regular season.
"I'm really proud of our guys," Pavlovich said. "There's no quit in them. They fought like crazy. It's just a lack of discipline and execution. That is something we could easily correct."
The Bullpups tabbed 260 total yards on offense, while Rose Hill had 245. Even with the strong winds, McPherson's offense was still shaky throughout the game. The Bullpups did score three rushing touchdowns. Two came from quarterback Kaleb Hoppes. Jake Feil also had a rushing touchdown, while netting 109 yards on 20 carries. Hoppes was 12 of 23 for 123 passing yards and two interceptions. The first interception set up a scoring drive for Rose Hill that would tie the game. David Leck, who recorded 54 yards on the ground, scored on a four-yard run for the Rockets.
The Bullpup defense was without Cody Stufflebean, who was out for a minor injury, but the defensive pressure didn't change. Rose Hill had opportunities to keep it a tighter game, and even found its way in scoring position. The red zone defense came through for McPherson as the Rockets couldn't reach the end zone since their last scoring drive in the second quarter. Jonah Clarke and Curtis Landrum were the edge rushers that stepped in for Stufflebean. Clarke had a two-sack performance, while Landrum was a disruptor in the backfield.
"Minus that first quarter, they played really well," Pavlovich said about the defense. "I know coach (Chet) Harlin made some adjustments and got after them pretty good at halftime, and rightfully so, and the guys responded well. That's what we've got out of this group. If you get into them and coach them hard, they do respond."
For the second week in a row, Aaron Powell made a game-changing special team play that would turn the tables on the Rockets after tying 7-7. Powell returned for 88-yards for the Bullpups to regain the lead at 14-7. Drew Schrader was also impactful as he went 4 of 4 on PATs, and a 24-yard field goal to clinch the ballgame.
"Our special teams has been tremendous in the last few weeks," Pavlovich said, "We get a field goal in right there, and we probably should've kicked a longer field goal in the second half, but elected to go for it. "
McPherson only put up 10 points in the second half and could've gotten more. The only thing that was stopping McPherson from scoring was the penalties. McPherson had six costly penalties for 54 yards, and all of it was in the second half. Pavlovich will take the win, but he expects better execution going forward.
"We're going to have to continue to do that because we played some undisciplined football tonight across the board. Those are things that are going to get us beat if we don't correct them."
The Bullpups looked to complete their regular season on the road when they take on Circle high School next Friday at 7 p.m.
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