It isn’t often that the kicking game ultimately decides the game, but that’s what happened Friday night as Maize South punter Andrew Bliss pinned McPherson deep, then found a way to keep punting the Mavericks out of trouble in a 9-0 victory over McPherson.
He also tacked on an extra point on a Maize South touchdown just before halftime.
The Mavericks (2-0) used a stifling defense to keep McPherson off the scoreboard. Maize South has now pitched a shutout for the past eight quarters.
The second half was mainly a defensive battle, as gaining yardage became very difficult, allowing Maize South to keep the status quo the rest of the way.
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Both teams had trouble moving the ball on offense in the first half, but a running punt by Mavericks junior Bliss was downed at the McPherson 1. A pass from the end zone was batted down on first-and-10. Quarterback Kyler Hoppes then tried to run up the middle, but was thrown back into the end zone for a safety with 1:05 before halftime.
On the ensuing free kick, Maize South – already deferring its option to the second half and would get the ball again – took over at its 44. Grabman hit Corey Minks for 8 yards to the Bullpups 49. An offside penalty moved the ball to the 44. Grabman and Minks then hooked up again for 13 yards to the McPherson 31. A pass to running back Max Domnick put the ball at the 30.
Senior Bradyn Wiens caught a Grabman pass that put the ball at the 16, and with mere seconds to go, Grabman found Minks in the end zone as the half ended. Bliss hit the extra point for a 9-0 advantage at the break. The Mavericks managed to travel the distance with less than a minute from the start of the drive and without a timeout.
McPherson 0 0 0 0 – 0
Maize South 0 9 0 0 – 9
MS – Safety, K. Hoppes tackled in end zone
MS – Minks 14 pass from Grabman (Bliss kick)