With half the classifications in the state playing an extra playoff round, the first week of instant elimination football is a busy one. Instead of the standard Friday night only, there are games on Tuesday and Saturday as well.
But while the games throughout the week are many, it is hard to call two extra days of high school playoff football, “more work.”
It is certainly more to do, but “work” is the wrong word. The Saturday round of games provide the only real opportunity, excluding state championship games, to get off my office chair and get out to a high-caliber game.
I was especially elated to get out to one of the 4A games taking place, considering all eight teams left in the west were legitimately eyeing state titles. So McPherson and Andale? Bring it on.
McPherson football holds off Andale with explosive offense.
Going into this game, I really had no rooting interest beyond my hopes that the game itself would live up to its potential. I got my wish in this tilt.
The Bullpups took this game 42-36, but both these teams had their moments. After Andale’s Hunter Knoblauch scored a 36-yard touchdown to follow up a 56-yard sprint to the end zone, it appeared McPherson was in for a long night.
But the thing you have to admire about the Bullpups under Tom Young is their unbelievable balance offensively that is a nightmare to defend.
Here is the boxing analogy to McPherson’s offense.
Big plays in the passing game are like hard, devastating haymakers to the chin. They are exciting, flashy, and dizzying, and result in spectacular, fan-pleasing knockdowns quickly. They lead to big, instant results that can be hard to recover from, but it is possible to shake off cobwebs. You fall from a temporary short circuit in the brain, but if you can get back up, the lights will come back on.
The running game on the other hand, is like body punching. It is not glamorous. It is not nearly as exciting to watch. But when you fall from being repeatedly punched in the body, you are not going down because the lights flickered upstairs. You are falling because you are simply in too much pain to stand for even one more second.
Plays in the running game can’t be shaken off. They stay with you, accumulating, and gradually stealing your will to continue to fight back until the game is over.
McPherson’s Kyler Kinnamon and Keaton Sorenson stole the show in this game, connecting on huge plays in the passing game. But somewhat lost in the excitement of this duo, was Austin O’Bannon’s 194 yards on the ground.
Combining a soul-crushing running game with the ability to turn the lights out in the passing game is what gives the Bullpups’ offense knockout capability on the field. And they are ruthless.
Don’t get me wrong.
The Andale players did not curl up into the fetal position and suck their thumbs at any point in this game. Time after time it appeared McPherson had the game iced, and time after time the Indians fought back. This is what made this such a great game. Andale was within an onside kick of putting McPherson in a very dangerous situation. The Indians never gave up, and made it a brawl to the finish.
But did O’Bannon’s somehow quiet 194 yards on the ground take just enough out of the Andale defense to prevent the Indians from getting a three-and-out after the onside kick to have one last chance? I believe so.
I am of the opinion that without the McPherson running game, Andale shakes off the cobwebs, and finishes even stronger than they did, coming out on the winning side of a close game.
Playoff football is as good as it gets. This is the best time of year, with entire towns coming out to support the hometown boys as they fight to be one step closer to a state title. It grows and grows until the day we all come together to give thanks and eat grotesque amounts of food. After a full day of recovery, state championship games will sadly bring an end to the 2012 fall season. But can you think of a better note to end on?