HAYS — McPherson High’s myriad of ways it scored on Friday against Hays added up to 48 points as the Bullpups routed the Indians 48-6 to start the district portion of the schedule with a bang.
The Bullpups scored on three rushing touchdowns, a touchdown pass, three PATs, two 2-point conversions, a field goal, a safety, a return of a blocked punt and a kickoff return.
Even though MHS scored a lot of points, Bullpup coach Jace Pavlovich said his team had to work hard to average a point a minute.
“Listen, their defense is very solid,” said Pavlovich, who returned to his old college stomping grounds while his team did some stomping of its own. “That’s definitely the best defense we’ve faced since Week 2. I was really proud of our offense and we did some really good things. Defensively, again we were just lights-out.”
The first-team defense has not given up a touchdown in five games and only one in the last six games as Friday’s score came against the JVs. The Bullpups squeezed the life out of the Hays offense, holding the Indians to just 58 total yards as they were minus-3 yards rushing (which included a 25-yard loss on a high snap) and managed 61 yards passing as they did find some holes in the MHS secondary, especially in the third quarter.
“We can score in a lot of different ways and our guys are pretty greedy,” Pavlovich said. “If they get a chance to block a punt, they’re going to go for it. I’m proud of our guys, really proud of our guys for keeping their heads, minus a few plays.”
MHS led 22-0 at the half. Kyler Hoppes started the scoring with a 13-yard run as it was just 7-0 after a quarter. Jace Kinnamon, who rushed for 130 yards on 19 carries before sitting out the final quarter, sped 7 yards to make it 14-0. Just before the half, Hoppes flicked a 9-yard TD pass to Chandler Wiard, with Drew Labertew throwing to Cody Stufflebean after a high snap.
It got kind of crazy in the second half. A Labertew 26-yard field goal opened things up, then Kinnamon bolted 24 yards for his second score. After that tally, another busted extra point resulted in a 2-point run by Ben Nikkel.
MHS made it 40-0 when Honestee Whittker blocked a punt and Stufflebean swooped in a recovered it for a score. Moments later, the defense got into the act again when Jayse Alexander came up with a safety and the final score was a 69-yard kickoff return by Nikkel after the free kick following the safety.
Pavlovich did express some concern that Hays was able to hit on some pass plays.
“Hunter Brown is a good quarterback and if gets more than a few seconds to throw he’s going to make you pay,” he said. “We’re going to have to get back to the drawing board on our pass defense... we’ll watch it on tape tomorrow and we’ll get it fixed. That’s what these guys do.”
MHS had 185 yards on the ground and 127 through the air as Hoppes was 13 of 21, with Gabe Hoover coming up with six catches for 77 yards. Even with running clock in the final period, MHS snapped it 59 times to 41 for Hays.
In the other district game, Wamego outlasted Abilene 28-27 in overtime, setting up a showdown on Friday of the two winners from the opening night of the district.