Ballock v piper 2013_09-06Andrew Ballock leaps for extra yards in a win over Piper (photo by Eudorareporter.com photojournalist Julie Stewart)

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The Eudora High Cardinals opened up the 2013 football season with new head coach Kevin Kopecky and some new assistants but kept their winning ways they have experienced the last couple of years under former head coach Gregg Webb.

Eudora visited Piper High School in KCK Friday night to start off the season and got the win over the Piper Pirates by a score of 12 – 7.  Turnovers were bountiful for both teams as they hit the field for the first time this year.  Piper gave away the ball 5 times while Eudora was able to limit their turnovers to 3.  Piper was the first team to turn it over when they threw an interception on their very first series.

Eudora got on the board late in the first quarter when Senior Andrew Ballock hit his little brother Mitchell Ballock on a 29-yard pass to put Eudora up 6 -0 with 4:05 left. The PAT was missed.

Eudora and Piper battled back and forth through the second and third quarter. Piper was finally able to find the end zone in the third when Piper’s Colton Beebe ran 11 yards and a PAT was made to put Piper up 7 -6.

Things did not look good for Eudora as the Piper defense continued to stymie the Cardinal offense until Senior J.T. Howel broke off a 55 yard run on a 4th-down reverse play with 1:27 left in the game to put the Cardinals up 12 – 7.  Kopecky decided to go for the 2-point conversion which would have given the Cards a 7-point lead but the play was unsuccessful.  Piper was unable to put together any type of passing play following the touchdown and the Cards ended the game going to a knee.

Howell v piper 2013_09-06J.T. Howell breaks off a 55-yard run to give the Cardinals the lead late in the game at Piper Friday night (photo by Eudorareporter.com photojournalist Julie Stewart)

“There weren’t a lot of things working offensively tonight and Piper’s defense had a lot to do with that,” Cardinals head coach Kevin Kopecky told prepskc.com. “They (Piper) were being very aggressive and on a play like that it’s kind of all or nothing. We needed it at the time and we got it. I’m proud of the team and J.T. obviously did a good job on that play.”

When Kopecky came to Eudora for one of the first meetings with parents and supporters the past spring, he talked about how he believed in the running game, but for their first test on the gridiron, Eudora kept a very balanced attack. Ballock threw for 174 yards and the team had 160 in rushing. Ballock went 9 for 15 in passing with the touchdown  and one interception. His favorite target of the night was his brother Mitchell who caught 7 passes for 127 yards. QB Andrew Ballock also led in the rushing category with 77 yards on the ground.

Eudora will now return home to host the Lousiburg Wildcats next Friday night at Eudora District Stadium.

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