It has been 340 days since the McPherson High School football team suffered a heartbreaking loss to Goddard High School in the Class 4A semifinals. The Bullpups now get a second chance to avenge that loss on Friday at 7 p.m. and continue on their state-run.
Last year the Bullpups lost to Goddard 15-14 and was six yards away from attending their first state appearance. Since the loss, it has been a burden all year round of what could've been, but McPherson's coach Jace Pavlovich knew that there could be a chance they meet again sooner rather than later. The coaching staff has been preparing nonstop for this moment.
"After that semifinals lost last year, we sat down as a team that next Monday and really hashed things out," Pavlovich said. "This is one we circled, and honestly for our kids, we were hoping they withdraw that eight, nine seed because we wanted the opportunity to play them, and if they beat us, then so be it, but we wanted that opportunity, and that's the kind of competitors we have on this team right now.
It worked toward its favor when Goddard received the No. 8 seed in the brackets and defeated Rose Hill High School in the first round, 32-14. After beating Abilene last week, the Bullpups had a new mindset of eliminating the mistakes they made from last year, and execute all phases on the field.
"I knew last year was a fluke. We knew we're a better team, and we made some uncharacteristic mistakes," McPherson's senior linebacker Mason thrash said. "I just want to get back out there and show them we should've won that game."
Goddard maybe 4-5, but the record does not reflect the talents they have on the roster. The Lions started 2-0 before meeting up with Andover Central. The Lions lost five straight games, but three of those losses were by one possession. One major blow for the Lions was the loss of their star quarterback Kyler Semrad, who suffered a severe knee injury in their 42-0 loss to Maize High School on Oct. 4. Since then, it has been an adjustment period with Kaeden Hoefer replacing Semrad. Outside of that, Goddard is stout with all-state worthy players that could give McPherson the run for its money.
"They are a really good team," Thrash said. "They are big, they have a really good receiving corp, they have some big d-linemen and they fly around on defense. I just think we have to play our game, and we'll be fine."
Winner of Friday's game will advance in the sectional round of the playoffs and will take on the winner of the Arkansas City-Winfield game next Friday.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter@Petes_Picks_