‘Cards come home even
Eudora to host Wellsville after falling to Louisburg
Louisburg The effort was there but the intensity wasn't, and things just didn't quite come together for Eudora High Friday night in Louisburg.
This week the Cardinals will have to dig deeper and put the 28-0 loss to the defending Frontier League champions behind them when they take the field at home for the first time this season.
This week, the Cards will gear up for Friday's matchup against the Wellsville Eagles, who will try for their first win this season, after losing to Baldwin last week 28-8 and to Louisburg in the opener 48-6.
"We've got to come out more fired up from the very beginning," said senior tailback Brian Harris, who has posted back-to-back 100-yard-plus rushing games.
Coming out flat caused a few mental mistakes that led to penalties and big plays for the Wildcats plays Eudora will need to eliminate this week against the Eagles.
"I'm not disappointed with their effort. I know, and the guys know, that it was a lot closer than what the scoreboard said," said Coach Aaron Barnett. "We came out a little flat emotionally. We were just missing that little bit extra."
And that little bit extra that was missing cost the Cardinals right away in the first quarter and throughout the game minus about nine minutes of the third quarter when the Cardinals put together an 80-yard drive and showed signs of life.
But Barnett said he wasn't discouraged by the loss the first shutout of his career at Eudora and he said he thought that with a few adjustments the team would bounce back and be ready for the Eagles.
"We've got to score more points. We're getting the yardage rushing the
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ball, but we've got to put more points on the board," Barnett said. "And we've just got to correct some of the mistakes we made. They're correctable mistakes."
The Wildcats set the tempo of the game early and held onto to the momentum for the majority of the night, putting the Cardinals in a hole they never flew out of.
Louisburg took advantage early of some gaps in Eudora's defense, which spent the majority of the first quarter on the field after two four and out series that ended in punts. The Cards never found a way to stop Wildcat quarterback Brian Johns, who rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown, and passed for another 98 yards and another touchdown not to mention a two-point conversion and two extra points.
"He was the difference in the game," Barnett said of Johns. "He did a good job of making something when nothing really was there."
But in every game there are sparks of life, and the Cards started a flame in the second quarter that turned the momentum their way through the third. The Brian Harris show ignited the blaze.
After rushing 40 yards in the first half, Harris pounded through the line for another 94 in the second for a game-high 134 yards in 27 carries. His string of six consecutive carries early in the quarter, offset by 20 yards of penalties in the next three plays, marked the beginning of a 6:20 drive, during which Harris compiled 60 rushing yards.
But, penalties cost the Cards throughout the game about 80 yards worth in all.
"When you only have 70 yards for a touchdown and drive 80 yards and don't get in the end zone, that says something," Barnett said. "That kind of sums up our game right there."
The fourth quarter was marked by errors from Eudora's special teams, which had a solid game until the last five minutes, Barnett said. A bobbled punt followed by a Cardinal fumble on a post-touchdown kickoff return clinched the game for the Wildcats, who scored two touchdowns within 20 seconds of each other leaving just under five minutes in the game.
Sophomore quarterback and linebacker Kaleb Niedens said he was disappointed in the loss, but said the team gained momentum from it.
"We'll be prepared and intense because we came off a loss," Niedens said, looking forward to the Wellsville match-up. "We'll just worry about next week."
Along with correcting mental mistakes, the Cards are going to have to work through some "bumps and bruises," Barnett said, after several players left the game Friday with cramps and other minor injuries.
But, Barnett said if the team played with the level of effort they showed Friday, it would be successful against Wellsville.
"We just split with two of the best teams in the league and we feel good about that," Barnett said. "We'll win a lot of games if we play with the kind of effort we showed last Friday."