Eudora beats Spring Hill, 46-20
On Friday night the Eudora Cardinals welcomed the Spring Hill Broncos for round two of district play. It was a chance for the Cards to improve on a 7-0 record and send the seniors off with a win.
The Cardinals used the deep ball and the legs of quarterback Kyle Brouhard to grab a 46-20 victory at Laws Field.
But the win came at a high price.
With two ticks remaining on the first half clock and the Cardinals leading 27-14, senior running back Luke Abel ran into the Bronco defense for a short gain. But as the players from both sides dispersed from the play, Abel did not get up.
The Cardinals leading rusher had suffered a broken left collarbone and laid on the field for nearly 25 minutes in front of a hushed crowd before being taken off the field in an ambulance.
"He's going to be tough to replace," head coach Gregg Webb said. "I tell the kids to play every play like it might be the last play, because you never know. They're down right now, but we're going to have to find a way."
Before the injury, the game began as many of Eudora's games have this season, with a quick
Eudora struck quickly in the first quarter as a sustained drive netted an eight-yard touchdown run from Luke Abel. The run was one of 10 carries and 48 yards the senior compiled before his injury.
The Cardinals kept to the ground in the first quarter and added touchdowns by Brouhard and junior Loni Ogden to make the score 21-0 going into the second quarter.
But the Broncos weren't going to go quietly.
Spring HIll did some quick striking of their own as the Broncos took to the air and came up with a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cole Henkle to Michael Collett to cut the lead to 21-8.
As they have all season, the Cards found an answer.
On the very next possession, Brouhard found senior receiver Mark Abel along the left sideline for a 42-yard touchdown pass. The strike gave the Cardinals a 27-8 lead.
The Broncos came back once again before half-time and drove the ball 65 yards behind the arm of Henkle and the hands of junior Kevin Miller. Twice on the drive Henkle found Miller for big yardage, before taking the short route with a six-yard pass to the receiver for a touchdown, which cut the Cardinal lead to 27-14.
The injury to Luke Abel sent the Cards into the locker room unable to enjoy a 13-point lead.
As the second half got under way, the Broncos had plans to take full advantage.
Spring Hill took the opening drive down the field, and on six plays found the end zone.
Once again it was Henkle finding Miller for the 19-yard score and suddenly it was a 27-20 game.
The Broncos kept up the attack on defense as the Cardinals moved the ball very little on the ground and ultimately ended the drive with an interception on a ball that was intended for sophomore Matthew Abel.
However, the Cardinal defense stepped up and forced the Broncos to go three-and-out and gave the offense another chance to take back the momentum. This time they didn't let the opportunity go by.
After a Brouhard run of 24 yards put the Cardinals into the red zone, the senior quarterback found Rodney Spillman in the back of the end zone on an eight-yard throw, giving the Cardinals a 33-20 lead.
The defense kept their end of the bargain as the Broncos were forced into another three-and-out, putting the Cardinal offense right back on the field.
This time there was no time for a lengthy drive as the quarterback went right to work.
On the second play of the possession Brouhard found Mark Abel once again, this play went for 78 yards, a touchdown and the end of any hopes for a Bronco upset.
The Cardinals, leading 39-20, put an end to the Broncos run by going to the air for big yards, beating the Broncos at their own game.
"They had no safeties," Webb said. "They just manned us up on the perimeter and told us 'good luck,' because they knew they needed that many guys in the box to stop us. So we just picked a number and told our guys to run everyone away from that guy and leave him one on one. And that's real tough to stop."
The main beneficiary of the one-on-one coverage was Mark Abel.
The senior receiver hauled in four passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. He even had an interception late in the first quarter.
Brouhard stepped up and filled some of the void left by Luke Abel by rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cardinal defense kept the Bronco running game to a mere three yards on 17 attempts.