Cards squeeze Trojans
Osawatomie team gives Cardinals a run for their money in 26-16 win
The Eudora High School football team avoided a Greek tragedy Friday when they came from behind, defeating the upset-minded Osawatomie Trojans 26-16.
"I've been a coach long enough to know that some nights aren't your nights," Cardinal coach Gregg Webb said. "I didn't think this was our night, and to find a way to win this thing was tough."
The Trojans (1-2) were supposed to be relatively harmless victims for the Cardinals (3-0). Last year Eudora made a remarkable run at the state championship while going 10-1. Osawatomie, on the other hand, struggled to a 4-6 record -- including a 62-0 thumping at the hands of Louisburg in the bi-district playoffs.
But that's why they play the game.
For the first time in three games, the Cardinal offense was kept out of the end zone on its first possession. Instead, Eudora's offense, under the interim leadership of senior quarterback Josh Lauer, quietly went three-and-out. Lauer started in place of injured senior Tyler Cleveland, who was still out with a broken collarbone suffered on the season's opening drive.
The Trojans were pinned down at their own five-yard line following a perfectly executed Cardinal punt. But Osawatomie's junior quarterback Zach Madden was unfazed, taking an option 90 yards for the touchdown. After a two-point conversion the Trojans led 8-0.
Eudora's second drive was led by its second quarterback of the day -- sophomore Kyle Brouhard. The newest Cardinal signal-caller faired no better, fumbling his third snap from the Eudora 31-yard line.
Minutes later Madden returned to he end zone on a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line. He kept it, a third time for the conversion and with 3:41 to play in the first quarter the Trojans led the stunned Cardinals 16-0.
The Cards allowed a combined 13 points the first two weeks of the season.
Eudora's third possession was greeted by a third Cardinal quarterback, junior Joe Kaup. Brouhard was back at the helm for Eudora's fourth possession --then Lauer for the fifth. The Cardinal carousel continued most of the half before Brouhard, who started last week at Anderson County, finally settled in.
"I think pressure is a good thing...to see how kids are going to react," Webb said. "So, I said whoever practiced well during the week was going to play, but none of them really stood out."
A solution for the quarterback quandary is perhaps close at hand -- Cleveland may be back in uniform Friday for the Cards game at Paola.
"We don't expect him, but we could have him," Webb said. "He's got that aura about him that we need right now -- someone to get in that huddle and take charge."
Brouhard and the Cardinals finally threatened late in the first half following a 37-yard punt return by Eudora's master of momentum, senior Joey Donahue. Two plays later, the Cardinals fumbled again.
Madden returned the favor though, throwing an interception into the diving arms of senior defensive back Josh Brouhard.
This latest momentum swing was enough to catapult Eudora into the end zone. Sophomore tailback Luke Abel took it in from six yards out with just 2:22 to play in the half. The conversion failed, and Eudora trailed 16-6 at halftime.
Donahue appeared to be carrying Eudora's momentum into the second half as he picked Madden for a second time. Kyle Brouhard then connected with his cousin Josh Brouhard on a 28-yard pass play down to the Trojan 17.
But for the third time in the game, a fumble ended a promising Cardinal opportunity. Penalties interrupted others.
Fortunately, Eudora's defense was able to keep them in the game until the offense got rolling.
When Eudora got the ball back, Brandon Jackson went to work. The powerful fullback got the call on third-and-six from the Trojan 35 with five minutes to play in the third quarter. Jackson was stood up a couple of yards past the line of scrimmage but a powerful leg drive carried three defenders past the first down marker, extending the drive. Two plays later, he scored. A successful two-point conversion pulled Eudora to within two at 14-16.
Eudora's frustrated but faithful fans began joining the momentum motorcade that was running down Osawatomie's lead. An energized defense quickly disposed of the Trojan's next drive, and the game was firmly in the control of the Cardinals.
A pair of touchdown runs from Abel secured the comeback and the victory.
Eudora's next date is 7 p.m. Friday at Paola (2-1). Paola is a tough physical team that will be coming off a 24-14 loss to Ottawa (3-0)