McPHERSON — The road to state continues for the second-ranked McPherson High School football team as the Bullpups crushed Ulysses, 48-17, Friday night in McPherson. The Bullpups remain undefeated at 10-0 and will advance to the quarterfinals of the Class 4A football tournament, where they will face playoff upstart Arkansas City (4-6).
Meanwhile, it was a long trip back for the Tigers.
“They’re everything they’re advertised to be,” Ulysses head coach Rick Cue said as the Tigers finish the season at 4-5. “They’re a good team.”
The Bullpups put up 48 points in the first half, and cruised to the win behind Jace Kinnamon’s four rushing touchdowns and 186 yards on the ground. McPherson head coach Jace Pavlovich praised his offensive line for creating holes for their running backs.
"Our offensive line are continuing to get better and better, and we got some great backs behind them," Bullpups' head coach Jace Pavlovich said.
Kyler Hoppes was able to throw two touchdown passes for the Bullpups. That included a 35-yard screen to Aaron Powell, during which he broke multiple tackles that would lead to a foot race into the end zone.
"They were giving us man coverages," Pavlovich said. "We're pretty blessed to have a bunch of talents at receivers, and at quarterback, and the offensive line does a great job protecting."
On defense, the Bullpups had to take on the Tigers' 6-foot-9 quarterback Devin Walker. The defensive front, led by Khalil Lisbon, created pressure against Walker, and held Ulysses to just 232 offensive yards.
“It’s a bad feeling to not get anything going,” Cue said. “We tried to throw here and there, and they’re just solid — they had everything taken care of.”
McPherson’s Jake Feil made a pair of interceptions at cornerback, one of which he returned 55 yards for the pick-6. His second interception came in just in time to end the first half.
A 48-3 lead in the first half would lead to a running clock in the second. Tigers' running back Andrew Nagel was able to put up two touchdowns in the second half, as the Tigers continued to fight on until the end.
"We knew going into it, that these are some tough kids, and they have some good pieces here and there, especially defensively," Pavlovich said of Ulysses. "We knew it was going to be a dog fight, and our kids battled adversity just like we hoped they would, and they executed well in the first half."
Toughness defined Ulysses this season.
“I’m very proud of the team, very proud of the coaches,” Cue said. “We gave it our best shot, and that’s really all you can ask.”