Coach Webb looking for physical game against Anderson County
A year ago the Eudora Cardinals faced the Anderson County Bulldogs twice. Once at Laws Field, where the Eudora offense exploded in a 48-12 trouncing of the visitors, and again in a more hostile environment at the bi-district playoffs in Garnett.
The Cardinals escaped that game with a 34-30 victory, setting up a meeting with Coffeyville.
This year, the Cardinals will once again face the Bulldogs on their home turf. Although the match-up doesn't possess the atmosphere of a playoff game, the place could be just as hostile.
The Cardinals will roll into Garnett on the Bulldogs' homecoming night and will have to fight hard in order to leave with its spotless record.
The challenge is not lost on Cardinal coach Gregg Webb.
"We're going to have to play really well Friday night," Webb said. "It's going to be their homecoming and they're going to be ready to play."
The respect the coach displays for the Bulldogs goes beyond whatever may lie ahead for his team Friday. Webb said the progress the Bulldogs have made under their current head coach Don Hilliard has been astonishing.
"They have come such a long way," Webb said. "They used to not have a very good program, but under Coach Hilliard they had such a great year last year and have the potential to play well this year. In fact, I voted for him and his coaches for coach and staff of the year last year."
The Bulldogs have stumbled a bit out of the starting gate this year, starting the season 1-2. Friday, the Bulldogs fell to the Perry-Lecompton Kaws, 35-7.
Still, there is plenty for the Cardinals to be concerned about Friday.
The Bulldogs possess a signal caller the Cards have to be prepared to stop. Junior quarterback Grant Suderman was instrumental in keeping the Bulldogs in last year's playoff game.
"They have a fine quarterback in Suderman," Webb said. "He runs the option, and he runs it very well. We're going to have to prepare for that."
The Bulldogs aside, the Cards have concerns to address.
Last week the Cardinals found themselves able to score at will against Prairie View in the first quarter. That momentum ground to a halt in the second quarter, however, and the offense struggled for most of the game thereafter.
Webb said the missing ingredient might be pure determination.
"We have to finish drives," he said. "We can move the ball all we want from the 20 to the 20 and it won't matter if we're not aggressive in the red-zone. We have to become more physical."
Another key for the Cardinals will be turnovers. A fumble and an interception caused two Eudora drives to stall in the second quarter of the Prairie View game. In the hostile homecoming environment, hanging on to the ball will be key.
"We have got to do a better job of taking care of the ball," Webb said. "We had too many drives killed by turnovers."
The Cardinals face the Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Friday in Garnett.