Eudora blasts past Wildcats
A year ago, it was De Soto that celebrated a league title at the expense of the visiting Eudora Cardinals.
This time around it was the Cardinals turn.
Eudora wrapped up an undisputed Frontier League title Friday with a 39-24 win over De Soto.
"It's nice," coach Gregg Webb said. "I don't think this team, since I've been here, has been 6-0."
The title was achieved against a 4-1 De Soto squad, which seemed ready to give the Cardinals a run coming into the game.
The Wildcats had put together a solid running game on the legs of senior Tyler Farmer, who was coming off a 100-yard rushing game against Anderson County, and the arm of sophomore quarterback Jake Morse.
But a furious defensive scheme, a powerhouse offensive line and the quick feet of senior Cardinal running back Luke Abel had the Cats reeling for most of the game.
The Cardinals opened the game with what appeared to be an assertive scoring drive, but penalties and an interception by De Soto's Jordan Smith put an end to the drive.
But the Wildcats failed to capitalize on the turnover as the offense went three-and-out, turning the ball back over to the Cardinals offense.
"That first drive, we had a good drive going and I was a little concerned with not getting any points," Webb said. "I thought that might bite us. They've played tough as nails lately and for us to really march the ball down there and not get any points, I thought that might be the last chance."
But the offense made sure that would not be the last opportunity. Abel took command of Eudora's second drive, finishing off the march with a 26-yard scamper and a 6-0 lead. Abel ran for 106 first-half yards.
The Wildcats took the ball back hoping to respond, but instead it was the Cards defense that responded. Linebacker James Mills recovered a fumble and galloped 36 yards for the score and a 12-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Cards added another score on a sustained drive as Luke Abel broke through from five yards out, putting the host up by 18.
With De Soto's defense shaken by the Cards ground game, the Eudora air attack struck.
Late in the second quarter senior quarterback Kyle Brouhard found senior Rodney Spillman in the end zone for another Cardinal touchdown and a 25-0 halftime lead.
Eudora's defense held Farmer to 16 yards on seven carries, while Morse went three-for-seven for 17 yards.
The Cardinals tacked on two more touchdowns in the third quarter, including Abel's third of the night. The 66-yard back-breaker with 5:30 in the quarter gave Eudora a 39-0 lead. The senior running back finished the night with his second-consecutive 200-yard game.
With the game seemingly safe and the title secure, the Cardinals put in many of their second-team players to run out the clock.
The Wildcats, refusing to go quietly, pounced on the opportunity.
From the 6:50 mark of the fourth quarter, Morse and the stifled De Soto offense reeled off 24 points in a four-minute span.
Farmer broke loose for a 21-yard run, getting the Cats on the board. De Soto's defense quickly got the ball back into Morse's hands with a fumble recovery.
Senior Austin Bills then did his best Tyler Farmer impersonation by running 20 yards for a the score.
The Wildcats capped off their fourth-quarter blitz with a 35-yard pass from Morse to junior receiver Austin DeGraeve, and suddenly it was a 15-point game.
Just as quickly as the Wildcats made it a game, the Cardinal first team was back on the field to finish the job.
"That kind of left a bad taste in my mouth," Webb said. "I guess that's why they're not playing for us. But those younger kids just need some more coaching."
The Wildcats managed just 220 total yards for the game, and 152 of those came in the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals will begin district play Friday at Santa Fe Trail in Carbondale. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.