Cardinals flex muscles in bashing Class 5A power Gardner
Whatever the Eudora High School football team did to prepare for its encounter with Gardner-Edgerton Friday night, it worked.
The Cardinals ran around, through and over the Trailblazers for a stunning 48-21 win to remain unblemished on the season.
"It was a great win," Eudora football coach Gregg Webb said. "They've got some great-looking kids, but our kids took that as a challenge."
The Cardinals improved to 5-0 overall heading into Friday night's road trip to take on Anderson County in Garnett.
"They're (Anderson County) not too bad," Webb said. "They've got some younger kids, but their lineman are big and physical and then they have some skill kids who are tough.
"We really have to execute both offensively and defensively like we did Friday. We can't accept anything less than that performance."
Webb admitted that the win came at a good time for Eudora. He said the four previous outings his team has had this season haven't been too impressive.
"We were just beginning to doubt whether we had the potential, because it is week five and we really haven't been very good in any of the four previous games," Webb said. "In the second half, our offensive line punched them in the mouth and kind of got physical with them.
"I am really hard on those kids, but I love them so much and this is why."
As a team, Eudora racked up 411 yards of total offense and, for the first time this season, never trailed at any point during the game.
A big reason for the solid numbers was that senior Matthew Abel, who has been hampered by a sore elbow, got a chance to show what he can do. After running back the opening kickoff 88 yards for the score, Abel collected two more touchdowns en route to finishing with 146 yards rushing on just eight carries.
"There is no place to play like Laws Field," Abel said. "Every time you get a chance to come out here, it is special. We have the best fans in the league. We have so many talented players on this team that it makes it easy for me to do what I do. The help me do what I do."
"It is really sad that he hasn't been healthy because he would put up some enormous numbers," Webb said. "I don't know if I have ever had an athlete as good as him on the field."
The offensive outburst came during a week in which the team had to deal with some adversity. Along with Abel taking a few snaps here and there, senior Brynnen Webb has taken over the majority of the signal calling duties after the team lost its starting quarterback midway through the week.
With all the offensive firepower the Cardinals have to offer, it is the defense that has been stepping up to the challenge. Eudora allowed just 237 yards of total offense to the Trailblazers while logging three quarterback sacks and two interceptions.
"Everybody is talking about our offense, but our defense was really good," Webb said. "They were flat flying around the football. They stepped up and really got after them."
On the season, EHS has only allowed a single 100-yard rusher.
A big reason for the solid defensive play comes by way of senior defensive lineman Morgan Abel. Webb admits that Morgan's strong play on the defensive line has played a huge part in the team's winning record.
"What is really nice is that we have two Abel's out there," Webb said. "I don't if I've had a better defensive lineman than him because he is strong and he is quick and he is smart. He made some plays that were really good on the defensive side."
After Gardner-Edgerton's Nick Pierson answered EHS' opening touchdown with a 44-yard run to tie the score 7-7, it was all Eudora from there on in. Matthew Abel broke loose for scoring runs of 42 and 31 yards and Brynnen Webb added a goal-line sneak to give the Cardinals a 28-7 lead with just under three minutes to play before the half.
The Trailblazers were able to get at one score back before halftime. After Webb's score, Isaac Mallory took the ensuing kickoff back 85 yards to make the halftime score 28-14.
In the second half, Travis Clarke added two more scores and Ryan Fisher scored as well as Eudora outscored Gardner-Edgerton 20-7 in the second half to run away with the win.
Clark finished with 111 yards on 22 carries while Fisher fell just short of the century mark with 94 yards on 12 carries.