Eudora proves king of Hill
Cardinal players buck the Broncos with 28-7 win
The Eudora Cardinals (6-2, 2-0) avoided a trap-game with the Spring Hill Broncos (0-8, 0-2) Friday in Spring Hill. The Cards fumbled their way to a 28-7 victory.
"Going into the game, I was very nervous," coach Gregg Webb said. "They were 0-7, but they had been in every game -- hadn't been blown out by anybody. They were down just 14-6 with Baldwin heading into the fourth quarter with a chance to tie.
"And they were one win away from the playoffs if they beat us. If they beat us, they got Santa Fe Trail, who I know they think they can beat. We were kind of their big game."
The early minutes of the game set the tone for the evening. On its opening drive, Eudora turned the ball over on downs, fumbling on a fourth-down play in Bronco territory. The Cardinal defense responded with a quick stop. But once again Eudora handed the ball over -- this time inside the Spring Hill 10.
The two teams exchanged touchdowns during the next two series.
Eudora put together its best drive of the half shortly before the break, taking a 14-7 lead into the intermission.
The Cardinal defense shut down the Spring Hill attack in the second half. Despite another fumble inside its opponent's 10, Eudora tacked on two more touchdowns for the win.
Although the coach was careful to avoid overlooking the winless Broncos, the team had to fight for focus. They also had to fight through some health issues.
"We had some issues," Webb said. "Josh Barr was hurt last Friday and did not play and didn't practice. Phil Lister and Joel Morrison were sick Tuesday and Wednesday. And we had some sickness in other kids, but they practiced."
Whether it was the health concerns, the lackluster opponent, or the team looking ahead to a season finale with Baldwin, the Cards struggled the week preceding the Spring Hill contest.
"We didn't have a great week of practice," Webb said. "And then going up there we had to get on a bus, we had no school on Friday, and a lot of things were pointing toward us not playing well.
"Our energy level wasn't high. It could've been the sickness or could've been the day, I don't know. But we had one of those nights where our aggressiveness was not there.
"Against Anderson County we had great effort and energy. But then against De Soto, we were so bad and we weren't real physical -- as physical as we need to be if we're going to do anything in the playoffs."
Sometimes teams just have to fight through difficult weeks.
"I was not completely pleased with our effort, but going into the game you said let's just win this one, get through it and that's what we did," Webb said. "We kind of walked through it and got the win, which is the most important thing."
Webb hopes his team can recover, regroup and refocus before entertaining Baldwin on Thursday in Eudora.
"We're getting healthier as the year goes along," Webb said. "We haven't had our offensive line intact, but maybe one game this year. I'd really like to see us at full strength one time this year. But a lot of teams aren't at full strength this time of the year.
"We have depth issues anyway. But we're getting a lot of guys playing that hopefully will help us this year and in the future."
The energy levels at least should not be a concern for Eudora this week. There is a lot at stake in Thursday's match-up. First, there's the ever-present rivalry factor with Baldwin.
Then there's the added revenge factor. The Bulldogs ended the Cardinals' season last year in embarrassing fashion, completing a season-sweep.
And then there are the playoff implications. Eudora's in either way, but who or where they play is very much in question.
With a win, the Cards will play Osawatomie on Tuesday in Eudora. A match-up with Osawatomie provides Eudora with another revenge opportunity. The Cards lost the previous meeting this season 38-17.
And yet another revenge opportunity presents itself with a win over Osawatomie. Fort Scott figures to be Eudora's regional opponent in that scenario. The Cards ousting by Fort Scott in the state semi-finals just a couple years ago still haunts the program.
A loss to Baldwin, on the other hand, places the Cardinals on a bus to Garnett to play Anderson County. Eudora crushed the Bulldogs 48-12 two weeks after its loss to Osawatomie earlier this season.
The non-conventional Thursday kick-off with Baldwin is made necessary by Tuesday's bi-district start.