The McPherson fourth-grade football team is one victory away from winning the championship of the Round of the Railyard Rumble Super Bowl Tournament.
McPherson defeated Newton 13-8 on Thursday to advance to the title game. It will play either Clearwater or Maize at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Newton’s Fischer Field.
“It was a tough first half, Newton was able to get film on our team and were very prepared for us, but the boys fought back in the second half to get the go-ahead score and the defense continued to shut them down,” McPherson coach Trapper Buettgenbach said.
During the regular season, the fourth-graders were 6-0 and shared the league championship. Among the wins were against Buhler and a Hutchinson team that had not lost in two years. The team has piled up 170 points and allowed just 46.
In the semifinal win over Newton, Kaiser Kanitz ran for 175 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing for 107. Cade Strathman rushed for 51 yards and caught passes totaling 53 yards. Jett Pyle also got into the catching act with 43 yards, while Jackson Anderson was lauded by the coaching staff for his blocking.
Kanitz had 14 tackles, 9 of them for a loss as he was in the backfield all night. Anderson and Strathman had 11 and 9, respectively.
On the year, Kanitz has more than 1,400 yards rushing and 500 passing, accounting for 21 scores. Aaron Winter is over the 400 mark, while Strathman leads the team with 20 catches for more than 250 yards, with Pyle right behind with 12 catches for 150 yards.
"When approached about possibly taking over this team after a 1-6 season, I was not sure what to expect, but I discovered a very talented group of young men,” Buettgenbach said. “From Day One these boys were excited and they welcomed the discipline and new system we were installing. Our goal this season was to be a family first, have fun, play hard and hopefully win a few games. The credit for a 7-0 start goes to the players, they have bought into the system and are playing with that Bullpup pride. I can't say enough about the wonderful parents we have on this team and the support they have given the kids and the coaching staff. The boys understand we are family and they go out and play like that every game.”
• ROSTER •
• Coaches •
Head- Trapper Buettgenbach
Asst.- Mike Godwin
Asst.- Mike Huggard
Asst.- Trey Pontious
Asst.- Kirk Craig
Asst.- Dustan Kanitz
Asst.- Dan Pyle
Asst.- Caleb Spaich