• WILD SHRINE BOWL — It’s not often McPherson High football coach Jace Pavlovich is a spectator.
Well, maybe he was more than the average spectator on Saturday in El Dorado. Pavlovich, for the first time in MHS history, had not one, but two players competing in the Kansas Shrine Bowl football game as the Bullpups continued their proud tradition of having a selection every year since 2008.
Pavlovich, like everybody else, was stunned by the game’s finish. The West, seemingly defeated after losing possession on a fumble with 2 minutes to go and with no timeouts left, came up with a safety with a minute to go to shock the East, 22-21.
Bullpups Jared Ruth and Jack Reifschneider acquitted themselves admirably in the game. Ruth was a mauling presence on the offensive line, while Reifschneider had three catches for 38 yards and also came up with a key block on a big gainer.
“That was the wildest finish I have ever seen in a Shrine Bowl,” said Pavlovich, who I have a feeling might someday be coaching in this game just as his predecessor Tom Young did. “I couldn’t be more proud of how Jack Reifschneider and Jared Ruth played all week. They are examples of what our program stands for. There was a ton of McPherson people there to cheer on our Bullpups in action one last time. Jack was the target of quite a few passes all night, while Jared anchored the tackle spot opposite the (Josh) Rivas kid that is going to KSU. (West head coach) Marc (Marinelli) was nothing but complimentary of their work ethic and ability all week long. I couldn't be more proud of those two.”
The East lent the West a helping hand. On the play where the East came up with the potential game-clinching fumble recovery, it received two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and that set the ball back near the goal line.
When a team has the ball on its own 1 or 2, I’ve never been a big fan of being in the shotgun formation with the quarterback in the end zone. All the East had to do was get under center, wedge the ball out a yard of two, then take two knees and the game would have been over. But a bad snap led to the safety and the improbable West win.
Given the talent on McPherson High’s football team this year, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a Bullpup or two in the game next year, which will be played at Pittsburg State.
• ANOTHER ROYALS MOVE — Call them the “Going for Broke” Royals.
Kansas City GM Dayton Moore made a surprising move on Sunday when he brought back a former Royal, professional-hitting outfielder Melky Cabrera.
Cabrera has actually been an even better player since leaving the Royals, having some big years with San Francisco and Chicago before being acquired for a pair of minor league players Sunday as the White Sox basically have stripped themselves of all their veterans in a firesale. The Royals and Sox still have nine games left against each other this year.
Moore is giving manager Ned Yost all the ingredients to make the playoffs. Cabrera will probably get some starts in the outfield and share time at DH with Brandon Moss. He’s a perfect No. 2 hitter behind the surprising Whit Merrifield as he doesn’t strike out much and can handle the bat, hitting the ball to all fields.
He’s also a clubhouse presence, known for his gregarious personality. Having been with the Royals previously, he should make a seamless transition.
The Royals may not be done. There’s been talk of acquiring Francisco Liriano from Toronto and if they somehow pull that off, this is a team that can not only make the playoffs, but make a deep run.
• BAD NEWS WEEKEND AT KU – The news out of Lawrence this weekend was all bad.
Men’s basketball coach Bill Self announced that Memphis transfer Dedric Lawson will not be making the upcoming trip to Italy due to an incident in practice. While Self didn’t elaborate, it must have been bad enough to keep him at home.
Remember, Lawson is not eligible until next season because of the transfer rule, but clearly this is a mark against him. This is not “the KU way” and Lawson better realize he’s not in Memphis anymore. KU standards are higher than most programs because of the microscope the team plays under.
Football coach David Beaty, whose program doesn’t need any bad news, announced that explosive senior receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez has been kicked off the team. He was a dynamic player, but not very reliable as he had a problem with fumbling the ball away.
But a team like KU needs all the threats it can get, so it will be a loss that will be felt. Wide receiver, though, is one of the few areas where the team does have some depth.
Not a good weekend at all in Lawrence.