Cardinals fly by Eagles 32-0
Eudora senior halfback Andrew Pyle left Friday's game at Wellsville with an ankle sprain, but luckily his backfield counterparts picked up the slack.
Eudora coach Gregg Webb said Pyle, who did not practice Monday or Tuesday, was questionable for the Cards (5-0) homecoming game Friday against Baldwin.
Webb said there was also a chance junior linebacker Troy Van Horn could miss the game because of illness.
Pyle, an all-state running back who carried the ball 11 times for 61 yards before the injury, said he would probably play against the Bulldogs (3-2).
"It's getting a little better," Pyle said. "I'm hoping to do a little bit tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday is kind of a light day anyway. It's not hurt that bad I've got to toughen up a little bit."
Senior fullback Tyler Jackson, 13 rushes for 144 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, senior running back Luke Powers, eight rushes for 36 yards, and junior halfback Mark Lister, 16 rushes for 50 yards, secured a 32-0 victory over Wellsville. The trio combined for a total of 289 yards.
Webb was impressed with Lister's ability to play key minutes against Wellsville (1-4) on short notice.
"Mark Lister has potential, and he's going to play for us," Webb said. "He's the fastest guy on our team. Our kids believe he's pretty good."
The Cards opened up a 6-0 lead when junior quarterback Tyler Cleveland, 10 rushes for 57 yards, scored on a one-yard keeper set up by Jackson's 18- yard run. Jackson, who had eight tackles at linebacker, intercepted Wellsville junior quarterback Brian Oshel's, 2-for-11 for 10 yards and two interceptions pass at the Eudora 30-yard line. He ran the ball in from the four-yard line to give the Cards a 12-0 advantage. Jackson later scored on a 33-yard run to put Eudora up 18-0 at the half.
Junior receiver/cornerback Joey Donahue had a bittersweet night for the Cardinals. He caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Cleveland, 2-of-7 and 30 yards passing, to giving Eudora a 26-0 lead third quarter lead.
Donahue also made seven tackles, recovered a fumble, and intercepted a pass on the defensive side.
Unfortunately, Donahue endured cramps and shortness of breath and was sidelined surrounded by medical personnel. Donahue recovered and appeared to be OK later in the evening.
Lister earned the majority of his 50 yards and got most of the carries toward the end of the game. However, it was Jackson who added the final touchdown, a four-yard run for the Cards.
Webb said he wasn't surprised with Wellsville's inspired effort after watching game film of the Eagles previous games. Despite its disadvantages with size, numbers and talent, Wellsville played a physical brand of defense with all of the blood and guts that go along with a storied rivalry.
"They were a scrappy team, and we knew that coming in," Webb said. "We didn't have the greatest week of practice (last week). Going out of the game, they (Wellsville) can see this as a moral victory."
The Cards held Wellsville to 88 yards and six first downs thanks in part to key defensive plays by seniors Kaleb Niedens, and Joe Born, who made five tackles; Dustin Moyer, seven tackles; junior Josh Brouhard, who prevented a Wellsville kickoff return; and sophomore Chris Durkin, who along with Jackson had a team-high eight tackles.
Still, Webb thinks the Cards have room for improvements after successive shutouts against Paola and Wellsville.
"We gave up more yards than we should have," Webb said. "If we'd have played right, we wouldn't have given up any. Kaleb Niedens is fast becoming our best defensive player."
Niedens, a linebacker/tight end who made four tackles Friday, has done a lot of different things for the Cardinals over the past three years. As a sophomore, Niedens played quarterback in the class 4A playoffs.
Last season, Niedens played tight end and linebacker, but it wasn't until a victory over Anderson County that he hauled in his first touchdown pass.
"High school goes by so quick that it seems like yesterday," Niedens said of his quarterback days. "I want to do whatever I can to help the team out and win."
Niedens also assumed kicking duties for the Cards against Paola despite little kicking experience outside of practice.
Webb said the Cardinals would have to play well to defeat Baldwin, a team that's lost both of its games by a touchdown or less. The Bulldogs defeated Paola (2-3) as well as Anderson County and Spring Hill, both (0-5). They lost to 5A Gardner-Edgerton (5-0) 12-6 and to Louisburg (4-1) 20-13.
"They're a quality football team with good kids at every position," Webb said. "They play hard and run good stuff. We will have to play well to win."
Junior lineman Chance Rowland said he was fired up to play archrival Baldwin. He also said the offensive line would continue to open up holes for Pyle, Jackson, Powers, Cleveland, Lister or whomever else carries the ball for the Cards.
"It's another rivalry that's growing," Rowland said. "We had a good day of practice today (Tuesday) and hopefully we'll have a good one tomorrow (Wednesday). I still love playing offense and opening up holes."