Cards trounce Trojans
Eudora beats Osawatomie 57-19
The Eudora High School football team will begin round three of its newly found rivalry with Paola High School Friday night in Eudora.
The Cardinals (3-0) shocked Paola (2-1) 14-13 in 2000 before losing to the Panthers 24-20 at home last season.
Eudora head coach Gregg Webb said Paola was a very talented team, but he's hoping the Cards can fix their own flaws before Friday.
"They look real good on film," Webb said of Paola. "We will have to play an outstanding football game to beat them. I think this is definitely going to be the toughest game so far. This team no doubt is going to be a lot more physical."
Although Webb said revenge from last season's loss wouldn't motivate the team, some of the Cardinals' players felt differently.
"We were the better team last year," senior running back Andrew Pyle said. "They came in last year and dominated the first half, and we killed them in the second half."
The Cardinals' trounced Osawatomie (1-2) 57-19 last Friday night at Lynn Dickey Field.
Eudora was out-played in the first quarter as the Trojans drove down to the five-yard line. Neither team found a way to score in the first quarter.
Pyle, who rushed 24 times for 185 yards, scored the first of his four touchdowns, putting Eudora on the board before senior linebacker Kaleb Niedens, 13 tackles, returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown.
Pyle and senior Tyler Jackson, five rushes for 113 yards and a touchdown, scored near the end of the second quarter to give Eudora a 28-0 advantage.
"If our defense starts scoring points, there's a chance for things to start getting ugly," Webb said. "We're getting better every snap of the ball. The kids are learning the offense more and all the subtleties that go along with it."
Pyle, who had five tackles at free safety, intercepted a pass and ran it back 47 yards for a touchdown, putting Eudora ahead 43-0. The Cardinals' shutout was spoiled when Osawatomie sophomore quarterback Zach Madden completed a 66-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Tyler Antwine.
Webb said Osawatomie exposed some of the Cards defensive woes at certain points of the game. He said senior Joe Born, nine tackles, and Niedens played outstanding defense.
"The kids did not align themselves correctly," Webb said. "We're still pretty passive in our position because of uncertainty. We need to be a lot more physical, a lot more intense and a lot more aggressive."
Born, junior Chance Rowland, and senior Dustin Moyer manhandled the Osawatomie defensive line as the Eudora offensive line opened up holes for Jackson and Pyle. Webb chose to leave the starting team in the game well into the fourth quarter to give them more game experience.
"They need reps, and we didn't have that many offensive possessions," Webb said. "Every snap we get is a good thing for us. I'm a lot more concerned about our team and where we need to be."
Webb said junior quarterback Tyler Cleveland's leadership was exceptional Friday. Cleveland, who rushed three times for 97 yards, attempted two passes and none in the second half. Webb said that was because he didn't want the Cards to pass after they quickly built a significant lead.
"He's a leader," Webb said of Cleveland. "He had a great game running this team. He's very tough and very physical."
Webb was also pleased with the efforts of Jackson and Pyle.
"He ran a lot better against Osawatomie than in the previous week," Webb said of Pyle. "He's got great vision and he's accelerating to holes like he needs to do."
The Cards held Osawatomie standout running back Derek Berry, 29 rushes for 127 yards and one touchdown, in check for most of the game. But the senior who led the Trojans to a victory over Wellsville managed to score late in the fourth quarter.
"The Berry kid is legit. He's got great feet and runs hard," Webb said.
Eudora sophomore quarterback Cole Massey, two rushes for 31 yards, scored the Cards last touchdown of the game on a quarterback keeper. The Cardinals ran 43 plays for 453 yards of offense.
Pyle, who has scored 15 touchdowns this season, said the Cardinals were enjoying their early season success and were hoping to continue it against Paola.
"We're happy with our wins so far so it's fun to be able to do this to teams," Pyle said. "We want to go out and have fun, enjoy the times, and win big every game."
Although the Cards are taking it one game at a time, Pyle said he did his share of scoreboard watching.
"It's always hard not to look ahead," Pyle said. "I get up every Saturday morning and see who won. If we want to be successful, we have to get the job done with Paola."
Sophomore linebacker Chris Durkin led the Cards in tackles for the second time in three games with a career-high 16 tackles. Moyer had nine tackles while junior cornerback Joey Donahue and senior Tyler Jackson had seven each. Juniors Troy Van Horn, a linebacker, and Josh Brouhard, a cornerback, made six and five tackles, respectively.
The Cardinals have outscored their opponents 151-38 through the first three games.
Eudora can clinch a Frontier League small-school division title Oct. 4 at Wellsville. The Eagles, who lost to Osawatomie, came back from a 13-0 deficit to beat Anderson County 21-13.
Paola defeated Basehor-Linwood 22-7 in the first game of the season before falling to Baldwin 24-6. They rebounded last week with a 41-32 victory over Ottawa.
Former Eudora High School football coach Aaron Barnett, who took over a moribund program at 6A Washburn Rural, is off to a good start. The Junior Blues defeated Emporia 22-19 in the season opener. In its second game, Rural lost to Topeka Hayden 35-30 on the last play of the game. Barnett picked up his second victory of the season Friday night, a 30-15 triumph over Topeka Highland Park.