TOWANDA— Another year, another perfect regular season. The McPherson High School football team took care of business on Friday night by shutting out Circle High School 49-0. The Bullpups not only own the AVCTL Division III league, but they also are 8-0 for the second year in a row.The Thunderbirds dropped to 1-7. 

It was a big night for McPherson's quarterback Kaleb Hoppes as he threw three touchdowns while completing 16 of 32 for 230 yards through the air. He also netted for 118 yards and one rushing touchdown. On defense the senior caught an interception pass to set up a scoring drive for McPherson's offense.

"Kaleb Hoppes did a great job with his key reads," McPherson's Jace Pavlovich said. "They came out and did something different than what they have shown all season. He stayed poised in the pocket and made great decisions tonight."

The Thunderbirds only had 103 yards of offense. In the first half, the Circle struggled to get first downs against McPherson's aggressive defense. Circle also committed four turnovers. Two in which set up scoring drives for McPherson. The Bullpups led 21-0 by the end of the first quarter.

The offense slowed down a bit in the second quarter but was able to get one thanks to Gus Ruddle's fumble recovery in the end zone after bobbling it while making a catch down the post. The only thing that was stopping the Bullpups were penalties as they were flagged 12 times for 100 yards.

"We got to work on being a well-disciplined team, and that's got to happen now," Pavlovich said. "When we get that done and clean up those penalties, I felt like we played pretty well."

The Bullpups added three more touchdowns in the third quarter, which resulted in a running clock in the fourth. Trey Buckbee, who led the Bullpups with five receptions for 104 yards, caught his first touchdown pass on a 51-yard bomb, while Jayden Dukes, who started at cornerback, also got one midway through the third. Matt Ramey set himself a scoring drive with a 51-yard burst to eventually bulldozed his way for a rushing score to close out the game for McPherson.

"I'm really pleased with how our guys came out tonight minus some errors and penalties which you know been killing us," Pavlovich said.

McPherson clinches No. 1 seed; Andover Central gets No. 2

Andover Central High School secured the No. 2 seed after 21-13 win over Arkansas City High School on Thursday. Goddard High School went on defensive battle with Andover and somehow survived at the final minute to defeat the 17-13, which gives Goddard the eighth seed in the brackets. McPherson is the top seed in the Class 5A West standings and has home-field advantage throughout the state tournament. McPherson will take on 16th-seed Abilene High School next Friday.

Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at or follow him on Twitter@Petes_Picks_