Second half helps Cards notch another
For the third consecutive week, the Eudora High School football team found itself staring at a deficit Friday night after allowing a first-quarter touchdown on a one-yard run by Wellsville's Bubba Oshel. And, for the third-straight week, the Cardinals responded in full force as they went on to score six straight unanswered touchdowns to capture a 41-15 win to remain unbeaten.
"You come out and you get ready to play and we were maybe on edge a little bit," Eudora football coach Gregg Webb said. "They really want to play hard and do well in front of our home crowd and we fumble the first ball. That's kind of the story of our first three games ... the little things just killed us.
"It leaves a bad taste in your mouth. We are closer to being a good football team after tonight than we were after last week, though."
The Cardinals improved to 3-0 overall on the season heading into next week's road contest at Prairie View.
"They (Prairie View) are not a bad football team," Webb said. "They will be, by far, the best football team that we've played this year. They have improved from previous years. It is not the most talented, but it is by far the best team because they do a couple of things and they do them all right."
Wellsville did show a little life in the fourth quarter as Austen Moore was able to break free for a 65-yard touchdown with 1:52 left in the game, but it turned out to be a much more productive night offensively for Eudora as the team finished with 444 yards of total offense. A big reason for the offensive improvement was from the strides made by the Cardinals passing game and quarterback Ben Katzenmeier. He finished with 132 yards passing on 9-of-13 attempts in an effort that included three touchdowns to just one interception.
"We are improving (offensively), but I see us at about 60 percent," Webb said. "What this offense is capable of and all the weapons we have, we are only at about 60 to 65 percent. We have a lot of weapons. There are a lot of things that I would like to do right now, but because of personnel out of position and injuries and not being able to snap the ball in the shotgun is limiting us. It's coming though."
Things didn't begin well for Eudora as running back Travis Clarke mishandled a pitch on the opening play allowing Wellsville to recover the fumble. To make matters worse, the Eagles marched the ball 74 yards down the field -- with the help of a few Eudora penalties -- for the first score of the game.
Clarke had a tough night all around, though. He finished with just 37 yards on 13 carries.
"Travis is a good player," Webb said. "He's going to be our starting tailback. It just happened to be where we've been focused on trying to hold on to the ball. That's the second game in a row where the first couple of touches in a row by Travis he's put the ball on the ground and so we are just trying to make a point to him. It wasn't anything other than trying to show the team the value of hanging on to the ball."
As in the previous two outings of the year, the Cardinals were ready and able to respond. Seeing his first action since injuring his elbow in the season opener against Osawatomie, Matthew Abel was able to haul in a 35-yard strike from Katzenmeier to even the score, 7-7.
It was in the second quarter, though, that Eudora was able to break the game wide open. Ryan Fisher was able to break loose for scoring runs of one, 15 and six yards to push the score to 28-7 at the break.
After halftime, the Cardinals continued to dominate. The Eagles were forced to punt after a three-and-out on the opening possession in the second and that opened the door for a 13-play, 71-yard scoring drive that ended with Katzenmeier hitting freshman Caleb Clayton-Molby on a 10-yard pass to make the score 35-7.
Eudora would add one more score in the fourth quarter on a quick pass from Katzenmeier to Fisher, who then took the ball into the end zone from 15 yards out for EHS' final score of the contest.
Fisher had a stellar game all around. He finished with 137 yards on 13 carries and three touchdowns while adding the score through the air as he had two catches for 28 yards.
"Ryan is a good player," Webb said. "I like the fact that it is about competition and if you are not going to hold on to the ball, then we've got somebody else that can run it."
The Cardinal defense has also been stifling. In fact, against Wellsville, Eudora allowed a total of just four first downs while surrendering a total of 145 yards, 65 of which came on just one play late in the contest.
In the three games so far this season, the Cardinals are allowing opponents a mere 133 yards of total offense and no team has scored more than two touchdowns in any game. The team is also giving up just five first downs a contest as well.
Eudora 41, Wellsville 15
WHS 7 0 0 8 - 15
EHS 7 21 7 6 - 41
WHS - Bubba Oshel 1 run (Scott Thompson kick)
EHS - Matthew Abel 35 pass from Ben Katzenmeier (Dylan Rust kick)
EHS - Ryan Fisher 1 run (Rust kick)
EHS - Fisher 15 run (Rust kick)
EHS - Fisher 6 run (Rust kick)
EHS - Caleb Clayton-Molby 10 pass from Katzenmeier (Rust kick)
EHS - Fisher 15 pass from Katzenmeier (Kick failed)
WHS - Austen Moore 65 run (Thompson run)