Augusta Orioles fall short on senior night against McPherson Bullpups

Lionel Tipton
Special to the Butler County Times-Gazette
Augusta's Kaden McDaniel catches a 2-point conversion pass against McPherson on Friday, Oct. 22 in Augusta. The Orioles fell 56-28.

AUGUSTA – It was probably difficult to visualize after Friday night’s game, but better days may soon lie ahead for Augusta’s football team.

And those could easily begin as early as next Friday, when the Orioles (5-3) will play host to a first-round Class 4A playoff game against El Dorado as the seventh seed in 4A West.

Once the final seconds ticked off of McPherson’s 56-28 victory over Augusta, the Orioles could devote all of their attention toward getting players healthy for next Friday, among them two of their top receivers, seniors Kaden McDaniel and Sebastian Flower, who were banged up in the McPherson game.

“Our kids played hard, as hard as they could,” Augusta coach Jason Filbeck said afterward. “I love our resolve, and they’re not quitters. We’re just not athletic enough to keep up with (McPherson). We’re hurting, numbers-wise. We took way too many injuries (Friday night).

“It’s a track meet a little bit. McPherson always has that kid who can really run. They can fly.”

The Bullpups (6-2), who are seeded No. 3 in the West and will open at home against Arkansas City next Friday, had two touchdowns by the time the game was nearly four minutes old. Both came courtesy of junior workhorse running back Jaytin Gumm, who rushed for 224 yards and four touchdowns in the game. His number was called on all three plays of McPherson’s opening drive after an Augusta punt gave the Bullpups the ball at the Orioles 27. He was stopped just short of the goal line on his first carry and was stopped for no gain on his second, but bulled through on his third try for the score.

On Augusta’s ensuing possession, a punt was partly blocked and gave McPherson the ball at the 28. Gumm needed just one carry to find the end zone and give the Bullpups a quick 14-0 lead. 

What little vulnerability McPherson has shown this season is usually on its pass defense. In this game, Orioles sophomore quarterback Gavin Kiser passed for 230 yards and two of Augusta’s four touchdowns. He also ran for a score from a yard out.

“We threw it all right (Friday night), when we had time to protect (Kiser),” Filbeck said. “I thought our quarterback played great.”

Having a good passing attack was almost a necessity against McPherson, Filbeck said. 

“McPherson knows we’re going to run it, so they’re bringing a lot of people down to stop the run, so the play-action game was good for us,” he said. “But we don’t have enough of those connections to keep up.”

McPherson wasted little time answering the Augusta flurry, effectively mixing the run and pass to keep some distance between it and Augusta.

After Augusta got its first touchdown on a 74-yard pass play from Kiser to McDaniel, McPherson needed just 38 seconds to post another touchdown on a 52-yard scamper from Gumm. The Bullpups scored on five of their six first-half drives, only falling short just before halftime, turning the ball over on downs with 33 seconds left in the half.

McPherson was to get the ball to start the second half, but Augusta executed an onside kick to perfection and began its drive at the McPherson 49. Seven plays later, sophomore Isaiah Blackwell weaved his way between defenders for an 8-yard score. 

But less than two minutes later, McPherson junior quarterback Hunter Alvord hit 6-foot-4 target Trey Buckbee for a 21-yard touchdown, the first of Buckbee’s two receiving scores. He also capped the Bullpups’ scoring with a 45-yard reception from Alvord in the fourth quarter.

McPherson’s offensive efficiency was eerily similar to what the Bullpups did two weeks ago at El Dorado. In that game, a 63-36 victory, McPherson also used short fields and ran very few plays to get its touchdowns. Against Augusta, McPherson had first-half scoring drives of 3, 1, 5, 8 and 7 plays.

Filbeck said it really all came down to a numbers game for the Orioles, who have lost players to attrition and injury.

“I can’t roll into the playoffs with JV kids, but we may have to,” he said. “We’re banged-up pretty good.”

McPherson 56, Augusta 28

McPherson 21;14;7;14_56 

Augusta 6;8;14;0_28

M – Gumm 1 run (Hoover kick)

M – Gumm 28 run (Hoover kick)

A – McDaniel 74 pass from Kiser (conversion failed)

M – Gumm 52 run (Hoover kick)

M – Becker 11 pass from Alvord (Hoover kick)

A – Flower 46 pass from Kiser (McDaniel pass from Kiser)

M – Madron 48 pass from Alvord (Hoover kick)

A – Blackwell 8 run (Schaeffer kick)

M – Buckbee 21 pass from Alvord (Hoover kick)

A – Kiser 1 run (Schaeffer kick)

M – Gumm 3 run (Hoover kick)

M – Buckbee 45 pass from Alvord (Hoover kick)

RUSHING – McPherson: Gumm 16-224, Alvord 5-48,  Schriner 5-39, Pelnar 1-9, Roth 3-2. Augusta: Flower 11-62, Kiser 14-23, Barnett 9-32, Williams 2-15, Blackwell 3-8, Price 2-8, McClanahan 1-2.

PASSING – McPherson: Alvord 14-18-0-189. Augusta: Kiser 9-15-1-230.

RECEIVING – McPherson: Buckbee 6-91,  Madron 3-57, Pelnar 2-24, Johnson 1-23, Dukes 1-13, Gumm 1-10. Augusta: McDaniel 5-140, Flower 2-58, Blackwell 2-32.