Cardinals can’t stop Wildcats
Missed opportunities and a porous defense again doomed the Eudora football team Friday night at Louisburg with the Cardinals falling victim to a 42-21 mauling by the Wildcats.
Special teams mistakes also came back to haunt the Cardinals in the loss. Eudora let a 96-yard kickoff return by the Wildcats’ Ryan Roberts go all the way for a score early in the first half. Eudora (2-3) never seemed to bounce back from the huge play and saw all momentum go towards Louisburg (4-1).
“It was a complete downer that just took the wind out of our sails,” Eudora coach Gregg Webb said. “It was a huge, huge play.”
After cutting a 14 point Louisburg lead in half midway through the second quarter on a 20-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Evan Cleveland, Eudora was fooled on the ensuing kickoff with a fake reverse called by the Wildcats.
“We had finally got a break and broke one through,” Webb said. “We had been just terrible on offense the first quarter and a half. I don’t think we had gained 10 yards at that point and yet, we’re still in the game.
“We’re going to get the ball after the half and then they decide to run that fake reverse. Our guys just fell asleep and he just runs down the sideline. The sad part about that is we had just run that play in practice the day before.”
The Cardinals also wasted three golden opportunities to take over early in the road game. Senior defensive back Zach Bryant picked off three passes in the first two quarters but Eudora would stall on offense each time, coming away with zero points to show for the turnovers.
“That was when we couldn’t figure out how to block anything,” said Webb. “We’re stopping them fortunately on defense and only down two scores, but we can’t do anything offensively.”
Eudora came out of the half with a head of steam and marched the opening drive down the field 72 yards for a score, highlighted by a 25-yard pass play to wide receiver Bryan Dudley from quarterback Drew Noble.
Cleveland then scampered 41 yards for his second score after a fake gave him the inside lane to outrun the Wildcats’ defense down the sideline, to bring the Cardinals within one touchdown of Louisburg.
Cleveland totaled 110 yards on the ground for the game. The Wildcats would answer Eudora’s threat with its next possession, taking their drive on the ground for nine consecutive rushes, continually gashing the defense for long gains. Louisburg then ran a play-action fake on the next play, throwing it over the top of the confused Cardinals’ defense for a score.
“It’s frustrating,” Webb said. “The kids want to do well, they really do. This team is still just trying to learn what their job is. We can’t even do the absolute fundamental things that we should be way past by now. We obviously have issues on defense.”
Louisburg continued to dictate the game for much of the second half, blocking a Eudora punt in the red zone and running the score up to 35-14 just three plays later. Eudora’s first play from scrimmage after the kickoff was intercepted by the Wildcats’ Drew Harding, who raced 23 yards into the end zone for Louisburg’s final score of the evening.
“We just can’t stop them,” said Webb. “Then we throw the pick-six, and then it turns ugly.”
The Cardinals would mount a late scoring drive on the legs of senior running back Ryan Fisher, pounding the Wildcats’ defense for 67 of the drive’s 75 yards.
Fisher finished his evening with 155 yards on 24 carries and one touchdown.
Webb explained what his team would do in preparation for Friday’s game against Gardner-Edgerton.
“We’re going to work on those fundamentals again,” he said. “We have to see if we can get better and we’ll still do the things we’ve been doing. The real season starts in two weeks with Perry and we have to be able to get better by then.”