Eudora comes up short on last play in loss to Trailblazers
Despite an undefeated round-robin start, the Eudora High School Cardinals finished tied for third in last weekend's seven on seven football tournament.
The Cards breezed through the first round and advanced to the single elimination tournament along with seven other teams, but met their match against the varsity squad from Gardner-Edgerton.
"It came down to the last play," said Eudora High head coach Aaron Barnett. "We had a chance to win it, but the kid from Gardner made a great defensive play."
With the defensive stop, Eudora fell 26-20 to Gardner and were eliminated from the tournament, which was held at Eudora High School's practice field.
"The kids were pretty disappointed," Barnett said. "I think they were planning on winning it."
Instead, Gardner went on to the finals where it lost 28-0 to Louisburg, Barnett said.
But, Barnett said that even though the team lost, a lot of good things came out of the seven on seven games.
"I feel a lot more confident coming out of the tournament this year," Barnett said. "I think our kids learned more this year."
He attributed the extra confidence to volunteer coaches Dale Sample and Kevin Wade.
"I don't know how much coaching we were really able to do," Sample said. "But, I think it was a good learning experience for the kids. They got to get out and throw the football around and have fun."
Ronnie Morelan said he that after working with the team, which finished 11-2-1 this summer, he thought it would be better than last year's team but it wasn't going to blow teams off the field.
"I think we'll be two or three games better winning-wise than last year," Morelan said. "But I'm not looking for an all-star team next year because competition is going to be right up there with us."
Barnett added that the style of play the Cardinals brought to the seven on seven tournament was not the same that they would bring to the field during the regular season.
"We hang our hats on a pretty physical football game. Seven on seven doesn't allow for that," Barnett said. "You can't really play physical, but I told the guys 'If we can get pretty good at this part of the game, we'll be better in the fall.'"
The padless, touch football tournament fine-tuned the team's passing game and reinforced some of the plays they had been working on. Barnett said this summer's team might look like an entirely different squad in the fall.
"We are a hard-hitting, hard nosed football team. We don't try to trick anybody," Barnett said. "We might not be as talented, but be are going to hit just as hard."