Webb itching for battle
Eudora football coach Gregg Webb is eager to have his student-athletes face any opponent other than themselves.
"I'm really not too nervous about the game," the first-year Eudora coach said. "I'm excited to see our kids get on the field and hit someone else. We're in a position to play a game and see what we need to do."
Webb said the Cardinals slowly picked up his complex offense, which he believed would make the team a great one.
"It's a progression," he said. "It takes time and repetition, and I think they're catching on."
The team practiced only twice, Saturday and Monday night during the Labor Day weekend but Webb is fairly certain the squad will be ready to play Friday at Prairie View, a team that finished 1-8 last season.
"We've studied some film," Webb said. "They have great size. They're physical, and we're not sure what they're going to run."
Webb said his main goal was to improve the Cardinals so they could contend for a state championship. While at Claflin, he ruffled the feathers of lesser opponents, who accused him of running up the score.
"We were going to do what we could do to make our team better," Webb said. "I'm in no way trying to run up the score."
At Claflin, Webb didn't have many close game situations en route to five state championships. Opponents became familiar with his offense, he said, but he still couldn't stop it.
"They knew what we were going to do the offense is just an evolution of my own," Webb said. "The intricacies of it have all melted together. Teams would try anything, everything (to stop it)."
Webb and the Cardinals' coaching staff made most of its decisions concerning starters for the season opener.
On offense, junior quarterback Tyler Cleveland gets the nod over sophomore Cole Massey. Massey will be ready to play if Cleveland re-injures his ankle.
"He's a competitive leader that is a tough, tough kid, both mentally and physically," Webb said of Cleveland. "That's what you want in a quarterback a leader."
The three running backs will be seniors Andrew Pyle, halfback, Tyler Jackson, fullback, and Luke Powers, powerback. Senior Kaleb Niedens will return to start at tight end. Juniors Joey Donahue and Josh Brouhard will start at the wideout positions.
Senior guards Joe Born, Dustin Moyer and senior center Michael Paxton will return to the offensive line while junior Chance Rowland has secured the right tackle position. The right tackle position has been up for grabs ever since sophomore Jason Hamlin suffered an injury. Senior Curtis Hickman, sophomore Dustin Deathe and senior Shane Grant, a defensive line starter, are all competing for that position.
On defense, seniors Born, Grant, Moyer, and Paxton will play defensive line while seniors Pyle and Powers will make their starting debuts at free safety and strong safety, respectively. Brouhard, Donahue, and junior Jesse Montgomery will all see action at cornerback. Webb also said he would like to play Cleveland at cornerback, although he won't start at that position.
Niedens, an-all Frontier League linebacker will return alongside junior linebacker Troy Van Horn, who will be making his starting varsity debut for the Cards.
"Troy has beaten out a lot of kids," Webb said. "Every kid (who plays) will be good enough to play for a 4A contender. Troy has proven he can do that for us."
On special teams, Webb expects Donahue to start at punter but hasn't settled on a placekicker yet.
Surprisingly, Webb said Rowland, an offensive lineman, has been the Cards most accurate kicker so far.
"Donahue is a decent athlete and kicks the ball well, and Rowland had been our most consistent kicker," Webb said. "We're hoping to kick off a lot, and we're hoping not to kick a field goal very often."
Webb said he'd know if the Cardinals were a championship caliber team by mid-season.
"I'll have a good feel for the team after four or five games," Webb said. "I'll know what direction we're headed, and if we're serious contenders, we'll know by then."