‘Tough’ Cards hope to roll De Soto
Anyone trying to figure out the magic that has powered the Eudora football team's explosive offense need look no further than the first three drives of Friday's win at Spring Hill.
The Cardinals rode up-and-coming running back Travis Clarke on 14 plays, allowing the team's most consistent unit -- a gritty offensive line -- to pave the way for two touchdowns and drive the team inside the opponent's 20-yard line for a third time.
Then, as if he'd been setting it up all evening, quarterback Kent Swanson faked to Clarke and lobbed a perfect pass over the defensive line. The pass could have gone to either of the receivers blitzing down the field -- nearly every Spring Hill defender understandably bit hard on the fake -- but it was Matthew Abel that came down with the ball and Eudora's third touchdown of the game.
It was a finesse play, and it underscored exactly what Eudora plans to do as it moves on to the final two games of the regular season, coach Gregg Webb said.
Webb said Eudora will need to outmuscle its opponents as it squares off against rivals De Soto and Baldwin in the next two games.
First comes the muscle, then comes the finesse, then hopefully comes the win, he said.
"I know we haven't played our best football yet," Webb said following Eudora's 48-6 win at Spring Hill. "Our offensive line is getting better. It's the same kids we had last year and they were pretty good last year, but they can still play better. They are men up front and I don't know if there's anyone in our league they can't block."
Tough and excellent at blocking league opponents -- they're both traits the Cardinals took advantage of at Spring Hill, and Webb said they'll both factor in against De Soto.
The Wildcats, 4-3, opened district play to the same result -- if not the same tune -- as Eudora did, beating Baldwin 22-13.
A relentless quarterback option game struck down the Cardinals in their last visit to De Soto in 2004.
While Eudora fans need not worry about that threat this time, it could still be a quarterback that is the undoing.
De Soto is led by quarterback Jake Morse, a strong-armed junior, and there are plenty of targets capable of moving the chains.
"They run spread shotgun -- they can do it with that kid at quarterback -- and they have wideouts that can catch it. They have some skill players and that's where we're iffy," Webb said.
They're good enough Webb said the key to taking both the second district game and a giant step toward ensuring a spot in the postseason will be keeping that quarterback and those wideouts off the field.
"We'll have to mix our coverages up a little bit and blitz him a little bit," Webb said. "If they're throwing it around the field a lot, they're going to give our offense a lot of chances."
And that's where the tough offensive line comes into play again.
Eudora has run over opponents en route to its 7-0 record and Clarke complied more than 200 yards against Spring Hill.
Webb said the outcome of the next game lies in whether or not his team can plow ahead for enough yards and points. So far, he said he likes the chances of that.
"Our kids are learning how to be tough, tough kids. When I first got here, they weren't," Webb said. "We still have questions about who's blocking who, but (against Spring Hill) we figured that out a little bit and when we know who we're supposed to be blocking, we're dangerous."