2014-09-19 Seth Griffith_PaolaRunning Back Seth Griffith tries to find a hole in the defense during the 48-8 loss to Paola (photo by Eudorareporter.com Photojournalist Julie Stewart)

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My mother always said to me if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say it all. Sadly though, if I followed that advice for this story, it would begin and end with the statement that the Cardinals lost 48-8 against the Paola Panthers at Eudora District Stadium Friday night.

The Cardinal defense was completely absent during the entire game. The offense showed very little. Special teams were abysmal. That kind of sums up the loss on Friday night.

Paola started the opening drive from their own 47 yard line due to a short kick on kickoff.  Eudora’s starting kicker and quarterback, Grant Elston was injured during last weeks game. Elston suffered a bruised ankle in the loss at Louisburg and was out for this game. Paola  took just 1:13 to score on a 3 play 57 yard drive. All three plays were runs by Paola Running Back Nathan Staats.  Special teams did block the extra point attempt and the lead was only 6. Eudora then marched right back down the field. Substitute Quarterback Austin Downing, and Running Back Seth Griffith combined for a series of runs with Griffith punching the ball in fro 4 yards out to even up the game. Downing ran in the two point conversion to give the Cards their only lead of the night. All of this was in the first three minutes of the game. After that Paola took control and never looked back.

Eudora dance team member Lauryn Splichal tries to help cheer on the crowd during the 48-8 loss to Paola (photo by Eudorareporter.com photojournalist Julie Stewart)

Eudora dance team member Lauryn Splichal tries to help cheer on the crowd during the 48-8 loss to Paola (photo by Eudorareporter.com photojournalist Julie Stewart)

Paola scored on the next possession and made the two point conversion to take a 14-8 lead. They added 6 more with 10:39 left in the second and again with 6:28 to give them a 28-8 lead going into the locker room.

Paola figured out how to stop the Cardinal offense, led mainly by running plays from Downing, Griffith and Chris Rivers, but the Cardinal defense simply could not stop the Panther’s offense. Paola scored 3 more times in the third quarter to give them a 48-8 final victory.

Injuries played a big part in the Cardinal loss as well. With several players out before the game even started, the offense was moved around trying to cobble together some offense. The players who saw much of the plays through out the night also went down during the game include Griffith with cramping issues and Rivers who had an undisclosed injury on the Paola sideline in the 4th quarter.

Following the game, new Eudora Head Coach Jesse Owen was not pleased with his team’s play on the night.

“Ugly,” was simply how Owen described the 2014 home debut. “Fundamentally it was a  poor performance on both sides of the ball. We got pushed around at the point of contact and we missed a lot of tackles.”

Owen said the team’s performance was very undisciplined and talked generally about all the injuries.

“We have a lot of adversity right now. We have some key people out, but that’s not an excuse,” Owen stated. “We were expecting everyone to kind of step up and hold the fort down. We get rattled when something doesn’t go our way and that’s the sign of a team that really needs to look into the mirror. The coaching staff needs to look into the mirror and there’s room for improvement that’s for sure.”

Owen would not comment on specific players injuries and gave no timetable for a return by any of them.

Eudora is now 1-2 on the season and will have a tough test from their neighbor to the south, Wellsville next Friday night at Eudora District Stadium. Wellsville racked up two wins already this season with decisive wins over Osawatomie and Anderson County.

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