Archive for Thursday, November 9, 2006

Krutz’s wild style just one part of staunch defense

November 9, 2006

Look at Eudora defensive stalwart Chad Krutz immediately after a game and it all seems to make sense.

The reckless nature with which he plays defense was reflected in his wild hair, and the sheer joy he takes from it all could be seen in the broad grin that split his face Saturday as he popped his helmet off after Eudora's 20-12 victory against Atchison sent the Cardinals to the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state football tournament.

Eudora coach Gregg Webb could only chuckle when asked about Krutz's intensity, however. Even Eudora's fifth-year head coach said he had to ask himself where exactly that fire came from.

Oh, Webb said he was plenty glad to have it -- especially Saturday as Krutz played a major part in Eudora's win. But as to where it comes from, that's at times a mystery, Webb said.

"It's a crazy thing," Webb said. "He's the worst practice player you've ever seen."

Maybe the Cardinal junior just saves it up, because once he hits the field, the term "worst" may still be used, but in an entirely different connotation.

He was Atchison's worst nightmare.

Krutz helped Eudora hang on to a first-half lead when he nabbed a B.J. Young interception. The Cardinals took a 12-0 lead early, but the Redmen woke up in the second quarter, scored to make it 12-6 and were looking for more momentum when Krutz hauled in the pass near midfield.

"Our defense played really well, and that interception helped change the game," Krutz said. "I saw the tight end dragging across and it was just wide open for me."

Eudora's offense grounded to a halt six plays later, and Krutz struck again, this time sacking Young five yards deep in the Atchison backfield.

It's a trend that's been playing out all season long. When the Cardinals are in a pinch, Krutz is at his best. Saturday's interception was nice and it's hard to down play such an event in a playoff game, but Krutz may have provided his team the biggest lift earlier in the season.

The Cardinals trailed late against Gardner Edgerton and were in serious danger of snapping a four-game win streak to start the season.

Krutz picked off a late-fourth quarter pass, however, and returned it to the Gardner three-yard line. Austin Hoover rammed in for the go-ahead touchdown, then picked off a pass of his own moments later to ensure Eudora would stay undefeated.

Krutz has 56 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions on the season, and Webb said no matter what Krutz looks like from Monday to Thursday, he's glad to see No. 21 on Friday.

"He practices like crap, but boy does he show up on game day," Webb said. "He has a knack for making a big play when someone needs one. There have been different kids on different nights, but he sure has been there every game."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.