A season to celebrate
Tough end doesn’t spoil great season for Cardinals
For some coaches, there is always uncertainty with how their team will perform from game to game. But Eudora High School football coach Gregg Webb said he knew the team would be a force to be reckoned with back in August during the scrimmage game.
"I knew how well we were going to be during our scrimmage when I saw how good our defense was," Webb said. "I always knew our offense would be able to move the ball well. The one thing we weren't sure we had was the break-away play potential."
And although the Cardinals did not come out of the season with a state championship title, 2006 was filled with accomplishments. The team went 11-1, had several players named to the all-league and all-area teams and rivals Baldwin and De Soto.
Webb said everything the group achieved was a team effort, from the players to the coaches to the fans.
On the defensive side of things, though, Webb said the group was as solid as it ever had been.
"They were just great all season," Webb said. "The last five games, the defense played incredibly."
Webb said the offensive line also showed its colors this season. He said because of how forceful and strong the line was, running back Travis Clarke was able to amass 1,671 rushing yards for the season.
Webb said the season saw several highlights, including the Gardner win. He said that win was special for several reasons, most notably because the team really stepped up and took Gardner down at its homecoming game.
Outgoing quarterback Kent Swanson said the Gardner game definitely stood out in his mind as the most emotional win of the season.
"At the beginning of the year, we were trying to figure out what our roles were," Swanson said. "I think the Gardner game allowed us to mesh as a team. That was really a turning point for us when we became a close-knit group and egos went out the window."
The end of any season always yields concerns about filling holes left open by outgoing seniors. Webb said the end of this season was no different. With a total of 14 seniors departing, five of which are from the six-man offensive line rotation, Webb said there would be a lot of off-season weight room sessions to try to build up the younger guys.
"The major concern of our team is getting those kids into the weight room and getting them ready for an awfully important offseason," Webb said.
But in all, Webb said this was a season for the books. He said the way the team performed from the first moment against Osawatomie to the last against Girard was something both he and the community could be proud of.
"I'm disappointed in not being able to give these kids two more games," Webb said. "That's what our staff wants them to do, to play as many games because that's what they deserve. I tell them all the time, but probably not enough, that we appreciate what they do."