The McPherson Bullpups football team will be facing their toughest test of the season so far when they play the Andover Central Jaguars Friday night. The winner will move on to the State finals and play either Bishop Miege or Paola. The Bullpups are 11-0, but most of their wins have come against losing or .500 teams. Central is 10-1, their lone loss of the season came against a tough Maize South team. The Bullpups best win in the regular season came against a Buhler team that finished the season 8-3, they won 21-14. Central beat Buhler last week 31-14.
Central has a dynamic passing offense led by Shomari Parnell and two outstanding wideouts, Xavier Bell and Matthew Macy. Bell is also an outstanding basketball player, and he makes good use of his 6’3 frame on the gridiron. He’s collected 59 receptions for 829 yards and 11 touchdowns in 11 games. Macy has fewer catches, 35, but more yards as he’s racked up 832 yards and 11 touchdowns. His average of 23.8 yards per catch underscores his explosive play capability. Central’s size at wide-receiver has to be a worry for Coach Jace Pavlovich as McPherson’s starting corners will give up a couple of inches.
During last week’s game, a worrying trend made itself known for the Bullpups’ defense. Namely, slants across the middle were open all game. When Arkansas City was effective, it was on passes across the middle. Central has definitely looked at the film from last week’s game and has most likely come to the same conclusion. Coach Pavlovich remarked last week on this subject, “We like to think if we have to vacate the box and play with five guys inside the box, then we can control the run. I know Andover Central has a great offensive line and a great tailback too. We’re going to have to get creative. Coach Harlan (Defensive Coordinator) has done a great job for 14 years, he’ll come up with something”.
The key for the Bullpups in this game will be the time they possess the ball. The Bullpup defense has been great all season, they’ve only allowed 21 total points in the playoffs. However, Andover Central has the most vital offensive attack that they’ve faced all year. The more the Bullpups can limit Central’s possesions, the better off they’ll be. The key to this equation will be the running attack. Last week Jakob Feil was effective, as well as his larger counterpart Matthew Ramey. If these two have a repeat performance and Cody Stufflebean and Mason Thrash can harass Parnell the Bullpups have a great chance of competing for a state title.