Jaytin Gumm, McPherson come alive in second half to roll past Circle

Joel Muhs/Special to The News

MCPHERSON – It took the second half for the McPherson Bullpups to wake up offensively against the Circle Thunderbirds, and the Bullpups did so in emphatic fashion and owe a thanks to junior running back Jaytin Gumm for the wake-up call.

After leading 10-0 in the first half, McPherson caught fire quickly with a 20-point third quarter, but no points were bigger than a 69-yard touchdown run by Gumm that finally pushed Circle out of arm’s length as the Bullpups downed the Towanda-Circle Thunderbirds 44-0 at Paul Family Field at McPherson Stadium Friday night.

“It just started off by my (offensive live) giving me a big hole to run through,” Gumm said of the 69-yard touchdown run. “Made one defender miss (and) perimeter blocking by our wide receivers was great. Just let me get open and just out-ran everybody.”

Gumm also noted the improvement of the McPherson offensive line from the previous week to this one and looks forward to the continued improvement of the group.

“They really did stepped up from last week, we made some big improvements,” Gumm said. “They have stepped up in a big way, and they’re just going to continue to keep getting better all season, and it’s going to be a good season.”

It wasn’t the only big Bullpup play of the night as senior cornerback and wide receiver Trey Buckbee scampered for a 48-yard reception on a screen play on the second play of the second half, which led to a redzone possession and score for McPherson.

“We needed it for our confidence,” McPherson head coach Jace Pavlovich said, "but I’d like to be able to bust some big plays in the running game. I’d like to be able to put together a sustained drive. That’s what we’re going to need to beat the Buhlers and Andover Centrals and Ark Citys of the world.”

Although the offense had its fair share of highlight plays, McPherson’s defense took its turn in the limelight during the shut-out, which included a 65-yard pick-six by senior running back and cornerback Sky Schriner.

Still work to do

“Our defense is playing well, but we don’t feel good about that,” Pavlovich said. “We don’t feel good about the game offensively or defensively. We were unable to get ourselves off the field defensively, and offensively just didn’t really click on all cylinders.”

Although it was a one-sided affair, Circle head its own battling and containing the Bullpups' explosive offense, especially in the first half as the Thunderbirds trailed just 10-0 at the half.

“You got to give a ton of credit to circle,” Pavlovich said. “We knew going in this was going to be a tough game.”

Circle has not scored on McPherson since 2018. Next, McPherson will take its undefeated record against Great Bend next week while Circle hosts Augusta.