It was not exactly as new head coach Paul Mierkiewicz probably had the vision for last season when he took over the McPherson College football program, but they did the best they could and now look forward to the opportunity to build upward to the future. The Bulldogs were very young last year with a huge number of freshman pressed into play as Mierkiewicz finished out the season 0-10 and a roster of maybe 40 players. This season the team will still be extremely young, but the numbers are up as the Bulldogs had 85 athletes on the field for the first week of fall practice. “We are still very young as we may have just five seniors and less than a dozen juniors on the field this fall,” commented coach Mierkiewicz. Among the returnees will be preseason All-KCAC defensive back Brayden Bush, who as a sophomore last season led the league in interceptions last season with six. Just ahead of him anchoring the middle of the defense will be junior linebacker Dalton Whitfield, also named to the preseason All-KCAC team. Covering the defensive backfield with Bush will be two veteran seniors Kavoderic McIntyre and Michael Rabara. The Bulldogs will have some solid playmakers returning on offense with the return of three key members of the line in junior Jaelon Barnes, a former McPherson Bullpup, and sophomores David Deramee and Logan Anderson. Others being counted on with the offense are running back Ryan Lasko and wide receivers Jackson Goodmiller and Justin Fagan. With the one returning quarterback deciding not to play this fall, Mierkiewicz will turn to either true freshman Jake Tiernan from Soloman or transfer Ed Crouch, who comes in from Coffeyville Community College, to guide the offensive strings. Also mentioned as rising to the top in the early practices were tight end Brandt Wolters, a sophomore from Osborne, Kansas and Wes Stevenson, an sizable junior offensive lineman who transferred in from the College of the Sequoias in California. Looking to add to their scoring prospects and Mierkiewicz is quick to mention the addition of freshman kicker Calef Contreras from Dallas, Texas where he consistently hit field goals from 35-45 yards out. “Another bright spot for us could be former McPherson Bullpup Travis Steenson,” added Mierkiewicz. “Steenson sat out last season after making All-American status for his play at Butler County Community College, he will be a huge addition at linebacker for us.” In reflecting on his first full spring practice, coach Mierkiewicz noted that “we were extremely productive as we were able to really teach the fundamentals and encourage completion of plays within our team. I believe our talent level has increased and our players are now aware of how we want and need to prepare and play in the upcoming season.” “We still need to be excited about making those defensive plays while showing more aggressiveness and being more physical,” said Mierkiewicz. “While on offense we have to be more diverse and explosive as we need to get better at getting the ball to our players in space to allow them to make the plays.” Mierkiewica knows that the only place they can go is up and feels that if some of the newcomers can come in and perform to the expectations of their ability, combined with the young guys who played through it all last season he knows that the 2016 season the Bulldogs could and should surprise some teams and will able to compete with anybody. With 11 games laying ahead on the 2016 schedule, the Bulldogs will kick off their season on the road Saturday, September 2 when they travel north to Lincoln, Nebraska to tangle with Nebraska Wesleyan University.
We've recently changed our subscription system. If you've previously had access but experience difficulty logging in, please click here to fill out a support request.
Online content is available with a subscription to the McPherson News Ledger. Don't worry, we've made it simple.
If you already have a subscription and account log in below where it says “username”.
If you already have a subscription to the print edition, and would like to add ONLINE access, please click below to add it.
If you want a subscription, which includes all online content and a weekly paper in your mailbox, select the plan that fits you best from those offered below.
6 months ($4.33 / month)
1 Year ($4 / month)
2 Years ($3.83 / month)