Eudora runs over St. James football
Eudora Football is difficult to game to get the momentum going, and nothing dampers that more than a rain delay.
After playing the first eight minutes of the game between St. James Academy and Eudora, the two schools were forced to vacate the field Friday night at EHS because of inclement weather and did not return to action until 7 p.m. Saturday.
Already trailing 16-0, the extended break did not help the Thunder as they ultimately lost, 42-6.
St. James struggled with many different of the areas of the game, but the biggest problem was turnovers. Quarterback Jake Heller threw four interceptions, two which were returned for touchdowns.
“We knew our main goal was if we could shut down the run, we would have a good chance,” St. James coach John Muehlberger said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of it, but we gave them those cheap ones.”
The costly turnovers ended up hurting St. James as it fell behind 16-0 prior to the rain delay.
The delay gave the Thunder a chance regroup, but they didn’t take advantage of it.
“It’s tough. I was worried about us being a little flat,” Muehlberger said. “I think both teams came out a little bit flat.”
Heller finished with 255 yards passing, including a touchdown to Top Huppe midway through the third quarter for the Thunder’s only score of the game. Heller’s numbers could have been better, but the St. James receiving corps had several key drops.
“We had guys open all night and you know it was either a breakdown on the line (or) we didn’t have enough time,” Muehlberger said. “You know, we probably had three balls dropped tonight that could have been touchdowns.”
Receiver Bryan Eisman was one player who had a solid game catching six passes for 92 yards. He almost had a touchdown catch as well. After making a spectacular one-handed grab along the sideline, Eisman began running toward the end zone, but the ball slipped out of his hands just before the goal line.
Another surprise to many in attendance at the brand-new Eudora District Stadium was the passing efficiency of the Cardinals led by quarterback Derek Webb. While St. James was able to slow down the Cardinals’ ground game, Eudora began to air it out.
“We’ve got to do some work on it. Early on we tried to run it and we shut it down pretty good, but they made some adjustments, and we had some corners on an island,” Muehlberger said. “We’ve just got to get a little better at it, and they’ve got a couple pretty good athletes out there and they just threw it up to them.”
Eudora keys players included Hawley Montgomery who returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Christian Richardson also contributed with two touchdown catches and an interception. Running back Chris Pyle carried most of the load going over 150 yards rushing and a touchdown behind the lead blocking of Boomer Mays.
The Cardinals had a consistent balanced offensive attack that made it difficult for St. James to get any rhythm on either side of the football.
It was a tough loss to take for the Thunder after last week’s 27-18 victory against Ottawa, but their coach was quick to remind them after the game that this is just the beginning.
“I told them ‘it’s a long season and hopefully this will motivate us to get better and keep going,’” Muehlberger said. “I think our kids have a great spirit and a great will, and I think they will work hard at it.”
St. James (1-1) next plays at 7 p.m. Friday at Louisburg.