McPherson Bullpups outlast El Dorado Wildcats in shootout

Lionel Tipton
special to Butler County Times-Gazette
McPherson's Luke Schroeder runs against the El Dorado Wildcats on Friday, Oct. 1.

EL DORADO – Before Friday night’s game, a perceptible buzz spread throughout BG Products Sports Complex.

Maybe this just might be the year that El Dorado ends McPherson’s mastery over the Wildcats – and on Homecoming Night, to boot.

And there was some validity to that.

McPherson scored on a 59-yard run on its first play from scrimmage, but El Dorado answered that score with one of its own just 23 seconds later.

The Bullpups then went 55 yards in three plays to retake the lead, but El Dorado answered with a 12-play scoring drive capped by the Wildcats’ only pass play of the first half, a 22-yard scoring toss from Gannon White to Jalen Rice. Two successful two-point conversions boosted the Wildcats to a 16-15 lead with only 7:21 elapsed.

But the resilient Bullpups answered again, and a penalty thwarted El Dorado on its next drive. McPherson found the end zone again and was never headed in a 63-36 AVCTL Division III victory.

Afterward, El Dorado coach Wes Bell acknowledged the long odds his team faced.

“(Friday) was a tall task, and that’s a really good program,” he said. “That’s the best in this league for 8-9 years.

“When you’re facing the perennial best for the last decade, and you’re facing them on Homecoming, you cannot defeat yourself. You can’t help it, and we helped them – undisciplined stuff, and our kickoff team was struggling (Friday night).

“They’re a good team, and they’ve got good players, but we didn’t help ourselves as we should.”

There was still room for hope at halftime, as the Wildcats trailed just 35-30 at the break after White, who displayed his running ability frequently in this game, scored from 2 yards out to get El Dorado to within five points.

The Wildcats had the ball to start the third quarter, but a fumble deep in El Dorado territory was turned into a touchdown, deflating any momentum the Wildcats might have had.

McPherson was relentless and added three more second-half touchdowns while limiting the Wildcats to a lone score by Drew Veatch.

On defense, the Bullpups were determined not to allow Wildcats senior Jaydon Sundgren to beat them. Sundgren carried 26 times in the game, but many of his runs were short, and he only had two runs of 10 yards or more, finishing with 85 yards.

But when one door closes, another one or two open up. Junior Jalen Rice gained 128 yards on just 10 carries in addition to his scoring reception. White carried the ball 18 times for 83 yards.

That’s all part of his option offense, Bell said.

“You take away one, other pieces are going to hit,” he said. “I would have liked to get (Sundgren) going; that’s kind of our engine. But other kids got going, and it was just a little bit of ‘wear-down.’”

That McPherson had more players also played a role, Bell said.

“I’ve got 38 kids on the club, and (McPherson) has 86,” Bell said. “His kids play one-way, and mine play both. So, they’re going to wear down a little bit.”

When McPherson scored, it was a picture of efficiency. After scoring on their first play from scrimmage, the Bullpups’ other touchdowns came on drives of 4, 3, 5, 3, 3, 3, 2 and 6 plays. In the second half, long returns and El Dorado miscues gave McPherson some short fields, and the Bullpups took advantage.

Junior Jayten Gumm scored McPherson’s first touchdown on a 59-yard run and scored again on a 35-yard run in the first half alone, when he gained 107 yards. Gumm scored three more times in the second half, on rushes of 23, 9 and 13 yards.

Another Bullpups junior, quarterback Hunter Alvord, completed all nine of his pass attempts, three of which went for scores of 52, 62 and 51 yards. He finished with 227 yards through the air.

Its Homecoming spoiled by the Bullpups, El Dorado will try to play spoiler next Friday at Wellington in the Crusaders’ Homecoming game.

Bell said the Wildcats will try to shore up what went wrong in preparation for Wellington.

“I was hoping that we were a little more ready (for McPherson),” he said, “but we’ll get the guys dialed back in (Saturday), get a game plan Sunday and get ready to turn the page.”

McPherson 63, El Dorado 36

McPherson;28;17;21;7_63

El Dorado;16;14;0;6_36

M – Gumm 59 run (Hoover kick)

ElD – Rice 24 run (Sundgren run)

M – Madron 52 pass from Alvord (Gumm run)

ElD – Rice 22 pass from White (Sundgren run)

M – Buckbee 62 pass from Alvord (pass failed)

M – S. Schriner 9 run (Hoover kick)

ElD – Sundgren 1 run (Summers run)

M – Gumm 35 run (Hoover kick)

ElD – White 2 run (run failed)

M – Gumm 9 run (run good)

ElD – Veatch 6 run (run failed)

M – Gumm 13 run (Hoover kick)

M – Gumm 23 run (kick failed)

M – Dukes 51 pass from Alvord (Hoover kick)

RUSHING: McPherson - Gumm 14-154; S. Schriner 9-58; Alvord 1-2; J. Schriner 3-6, Team 1-minus-19, TOTAL: 29-201. El Dorado - White 24-87, Sundgren 22-81, Rice 12-115, Summers 7-51; Cavallaro 4-0; Rickard 1-minus-1; Lesh 1-minus-1, TOTAL 75-399.

PASSING (C-A-I-TD): McPherson - Alvord 11-12-0-3 266. El Dorado - White 2-5-0-1 32.

RECEIVING: McPherson - Buckbee 6-119; Madron 1-52; Hoover 1-11; Ediger 1-5; Gumm 1-30; Dukes 1-49. El Dorado - Rice 1-26; Johnson 1-6.