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The Eudora High Cardinals had their season come to an end at the hands of the 9-0 Baldwin City Bulldogs Thursday night at Baker University. The Cards regular season finale was no small task for a team that was decimated by injury and facing the Bulldogs who were picked in the preseason to be a serious competitor for the 4A State Championship.
From the beginning of the game fans could tell that Baldwin City was poised and ready. The Bulldogs played with an intensity and focus that reminded fans of the Eudora High team from two years ago. Their running and passing game was precise and efficient. Baldwin City made it look effortless. Eudora took the opening kickoff and promptly went three and out. On the Bulldogs very first possession, they marched down the field in rhythmic fashion and scored when B.C. Senior Quarterback Chad Berg scrambled in from 32 yards out. Eudora tried to muster a defense but was obviously overmatched by the strength and discipline of the Bulldogs. The Cards drove down the length of the field but could not punch the ball in the end zone. Eudora settled for a field goal from the 2 yard line with 6.1 seconds left in the first quarter. That was the last time Eudora would get close to the end zone in the first half.
In the second quarter, Baldwin started to move the ball. Baldwin scored four times during the quarter putting the game out of reach. Senior Running Back Cornell Brown scored three times in the quarter, the first being a 15 yard run with 7:37 left. Following a three and out by Eudora, Brown scored again when he received the punt at his own 8 and ran 92 yards for the TD. Berg later scored by calling his own number and scooted into the end zone from the 11 with 1:11 remaining in the half. With another three and out by Eudora following Berg’s TD run, Baldwin moved down the field quickly, aided by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Mason Tomlinson which allowed Berg to connect with Brown for a 23-yard pass in the back of the end zone as time expired in the half.
Half time pep talks and a rest in the locker room didn’t help Eudora. Baldwin again scored with 5:41 left in the 3rd when Sophomore Joel Katzer scored from 3 yards out to give B.C. a 42-3 lead. Following the touchdown, the Bulldogs knowing the game was well in hand, substituted in their second team. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Eudora was finally able to put some points up on the board. QB Grant Elston scored with 8:03 left in the game and Austin Downing scored from the 3 in the final seconds to cut the Bulldog lead to 25. The loss means that Eudora will miss the playoffs following two successive runs to the State championship.
After the game, Eudora Head Coach Kevin Kopecky, reflected on the last few weeks of the season.
“We kind of got into a bad skid at the end of the year and district time is a bad time to do that,” Kopecky said. “Our kids that are coming back next year need to remember this feeling because it can’t happen again.”
Kopecky already is looking towards next season and how he plans on making changes to take the Cardinals back to the playoffs.
“The wheels are turning already. We got to work really hard in the offseason,” Kopecky told us. “”I’m really excited about the future. We got a lot of young kids on this football team and I know they’ll put in the work and were going to be okay next season.”