By William / www.mcpherson-county-ks.com

MCPHERSON – For four straight years the McPherson football team has knocked on the door of the state championship game and not been let in, 2021 could be the year.

Despite losing a quality quarterback in Dylan Rinker to graduation, Bullpup head coach Jace Pavlovich seems confident in a pair of contenders as his replacement to guide five returning offensive starters of what is normally an offensive juggernaut.

Six starters return for the McPherson defense including Curtis Landrum and Jayden Dukes who have received a lot of preseason recognition.

Coach Pavlovich has 26 returning letterman to go along with a handful of sophomores who look to make some waves this fall as they look to knock on the door of a state championship once again – hoping to knock the door open.

Here is a full 2021 preview of McPherson Bullpup Football.


Head Coach = Jace Pavlovich

  • Beginning season 7 as head coach
  • In 2020 led team to a 10-2 record overall, 6-0 in league play
  • Has a career record of 55-13, 42-6 in past 4 seasons
  • Spent 11 seasons as a defensive coordinator – 9 with McPherson, 2 in Hays
  • Offense will be a Spread I
  • Defense will be a 4-2-5

Assistant Coaches:

  • Chet Harlin – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • Scott Davis – Defensive Line
  • John Montgomery – Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs
  • David Goerzen – Defensive Safeties
  • Brandon Labertew – Defensive Corners
  • Patrick Corcoran – Offensive Line
  • Matt Sandbo – Quarterbacks


With 26 returning letterman, the cupboard is not exactly bare although Coach Pavlovich will need to replace four of five offensive lineman and an all-state quarterback as well as some back end defensive players.

With Dylan Rinker graduated, the offense appears to be in the hands of either Hunter Alvord or Aiden Hoover, though the coaches have said that Hadlee Backhus and Owen Fetsch have been impressive during preseason practices.

Running the ball seems in solid shoes with the return of starter Jaytin Gumm along with speedy Sky Schriner.

Coach Pavlovich points out that the Bullpups will have several receivers available to relieve returning starters Trey Buckbee and Gus Ruddle, while youngster Sam Becker is solid at tight end.

Braxton Bailey is getting a lot of preseason hype, but he is also the lone returnee on the offensive line and the coaches understand the Bullpups will be relatively inexperienced.

Regarding the offense, Coach Pavlovich notes, “We feel solid with the quarterback position, and we are very deep at running back as well as wide receiver. Our question lies upfront where we will be inexperienced. If we can develop a front five, then we have a chance to put up some points.”

On the defensive side of the game, McPherson has six returning starters with Curtis Landrum at defensive end gaining a lot of preseason hype.

Landrum will be joined on the line by Becker, Jace Minear and Darriene Gibbs to plug up the front.

Aiden Hoover at linebacker along with Jayden Dukes and Collin Pearson are the other returning starters. Dukes was a ball hawk in 2020.

Talking about his defense, Pavlovich says, “Defensively, we have some big shoes to fill. Our defensive line should again be our strongest position as we need to find an inside linebacker and a couple of defensive backs to fill out a traditionally strong defense.”

“We lost the most successful class of seniors in Bullpup history,” explains coach Pavlovich. “They will have a lasting impact on our program because our young guys learned from them how to do everything the right way.”

Pavlovich continued by adding, “We still have a ton of talented kids coming up in the program, but they are unproven in a starting capacity. The last four years, these guys have been able to practice eight extra weeks which should benefit us.”

Concluding his preseason reflections, Pavlovich remarked, “We want to reach our potential. We have been knocking on the door the last four years and have not been able to get to that state championship game. We have the talent to get there, but we need to control the controllables. If we can stay healthy and continue to improve each week, this could be another historic season.”



Braxton Bailey – offensive line

Sam Becker – tight end

Jaytin Gumm – running back

Trey Buckbee – wide receiver

Gus Ruddle – wide receiver


Jaice Minear – defensive line

Curtis Landrum – defensive end

Darriene Gibbs – defensive end

Aiden Hoover – linebacker

Collin Pearson – defensive back

Jayden Dukes – defensive back


September 3 = At Salina South, 7:00 pm

September 10 = Circle at Home (District Game), 7:00 pm

September 17 = At Great Bend, 7:00 pm

September 24 = Winfield at Home (District Game), 7:00 pm

October 1 = El Dorado at Home (District Game), 7:00 pm

October 8 = At Buhler (District Game), 7:00 pm

October 15 = Mulvane at Home, 7:00 pm

October 22 = At Augusta, 7:00 pm

{Become a SPONSOR for McPherson Bullpup Postings – contact William at crossdovewriter@gmail.com – – as little as $40/month}

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