Eudora District Stadium
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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.
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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At halftime of the Eudora Cardinal football game, the High School Dance Team performed a Halloween routine set to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. That was the only thing thrilling on the field Friday night. At least the halftime show wasn’t set to Jackson’s “Bad”. That may have been a little more accurate.
Ottawa got on the board first when Senior Running Back Alex Lynch scored on a 17 yard run with 5:26 left in the first quarter. Eudora tried to fight back with time running down in the first. J.T. Howell ran two consecutive end-arounds. On the first he ran for 66 yards and the second for 12 yards into the end zone. With the extra point, it knotted the game at 7. That was the last and only significant offense Eudora would have on the night.
Ottawa put 6 on the board in the second quarter when Lynch scored his second of three rushing touchdowns of the night with 5:12 left in the half. Kicker Brandon Church missed the extra point to give the Ottawa Cyclones a 13-7 halftime lead.
Eudora spent the first half trying to stop Ottawa and get something going offensively. The Cards were not able to do either job effectively. Ottawa didn’t let up in the second half either. Senior Kord Ferguson scored from one yard out at the 8:59 mark of the third quarter to give them a 20-7 margin of victory and Lynch put the game out of reach when he scored with 8:15 left in the game from 3 yards out.
This season the Cardinals played a defense that was a bend don’t break style. Friday night, the defense broke down. The team was not able to stop the run up the middle. Head Coach Kevin Kopecky has talked about lack of defense all season long. The loss of Ballock to injury during the St. James Academy game has hurt as well. While Ballock’s offensive leadership is a missing ingredient, he defensive skills are truly missed more. The defense tries hard, but it’s ability to stop the run is lacking. Ottawa proved that Friday night.
The outlook is not bright either. Eudora will travel to Baker University Halloween night for the season finale against the 8-0 Baldwin City Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were a pre-season pick by many to win class 4-A this year and have beaten their opponents by an average of nearly 40 points this season. It will be a must win game for Eudora to keep their season alive. A loss means 3rd place in the district and the team goes from two-time state championship runner-up to watching the playoffs from the stands.
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On a cold and wet night, the Eudora Cardinals outlasted the Santa Fe Trail Chargers 14-13 in a very lackluster performance. Warmth, fans and good football all were absent from Eudora District Stadium on Friday night as Eudora High began district play. At least it wasn’t raining during the game.
You could feel a sense in the air prior to kickoff that this was going to be a long night as falling temperatures and a slight wind settled over the stadium prior to kickoff. That feeling was proven on the field shortly after kickoff. Neither new Eudora QB Grant Elston or Santa Fe Trail’s Weston Gloss could make any significant gains running or passing on the wet field. Elston and RB Chris Rivers attempted a multitude of runs but could not move the ball. During the 1st quarter both teams were going 4 and out as neither side was interested in trying to punt the ball.
It wasn’t until 5:24 left in the 2nd quarter that Elston made the second longest run of the night when he broke off a 31 yard run to find the end zone and put Eudora on the board. Elston, who is also the Cardinal kicker, added the extra point to give EHS a 7-0 lead that the Cards took to the locker room at halftime.
Slips, falls, and fumbles were common through the game. As the rain had stopped just an hour before game time, slick field conditions caused many problems for both teams. After multiple runs, SFT finally got a passing game going in the second half when Gloss hit Seth Coltrane with a short pass that he took 18 yards to set up the Chargers on the Eudora 10 yard line. Gloss then hit WR Tyler Mundy with an 8 yard pass with 7:36 left in the 3rd quarter. With the extra point by kicker Darric Cashier, the Chargers tied the game up.
Eudora continued their season long trend of a bend but don’t break style of defense. The Cardinals had a hard time tackling all night long, but never allow large enough gains for the Chargers to make significant progress. The Chargers finally made it back into the Cardinal red zone with a little over 7 minutes left in the game, making it all the way to 2 yard line. The Chargers attempted to go for the TD from the 2, but the Cards defense stood them up. With the Cardinals backed up in their own end zone, they attempted a run on their first play and promptly fumbled the ball at the 3 yard line which SFT scooped up and scored a touchdown. Cashier missed the extra point, which would later prove pivotal, to give the Chargers a 6 point lead.
Many thought the game was over with only 7:07 left in the game but the Cardinals once again did not fold. The Cards made progress in the running game on the following series including a 46 yard run by J.T. Howell and took the ball all the way down to the SFT 16 yard line. Santa Fe Trail stymied the Cards at the 16 and took over on downs, but promptly went 3 and out and punted the ball back to Eudora who took over at the SFT 44. Elston and Howell combined to run the ball back down the field and Elston tied the game up once again with 1:28 left when he scored from one yard out. While their may have not been many fans in the stands, those that were in attendance held their breath as Elston made the point after to give the Cards the lead and the win.
Following the game, Eudora Head Coach Kevin Kopecky was asked about the lack of ability to tackle on the defensive side of the ball.
“We’ve had a hard time all year,” Kopecky said. “Honestly we’ve got to get this fixed or we are not going very far. We’ve got a lot of hitches on defense and I’m not trying to call those guys out or throw anyone under the bus, but we’ve got to get better on defense.”
The Cardinals will face a key challenge next week. Friday night, the Ottawa Cyclones come to town for Cardinal Senior night. Ottawa is 3-4 on the season and 0-1 in the District after a 61-0 loss at the hands of the Baldwin City Bulldogs. A win by the Cardinals would guarantee at least second place in the district and a trip to the playoffs. The top two finishers in the district will head to the playoffs.
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It took 26 hours to complete the game, but the Cardinals persevered and beat the Spring Hill Broncos 35-7 Saturday night at Eudora District Stadium.
A much smaller crowd returned to a much chillier stadium on Saturday night to watch the remaining three quarters of football after the game had been suspended on Friday night due to lightning.
Both teams seemed sluggish at the resumption of the contest with :32 left in the first quarter. The Cardinals had a 14-0 lead on two Grant Elston runs from the previous night. While both Spring Hill and Eudora moved the ball up and down the field in a few series of drives, neither team could put points on the board. The teams went to the locker room for halftime 15 minutes after they started play with the score still 14-0.
Following halftime, both teams realized that it was time to play football and got some offensive efforts going. The 2nd half opened with Spring Hill returning the opening kick off 44 yards. Then Spring Hill QB Ryker Johnson connected with TE Drew Cygan for a 37 yard pass which took the ball to the Eudora 7 yard line. A series of runs, allowed Johnson to sneak the ball in the end zone from about 1 foot out and the Broncos were on the board with 8:28 left in the 3rd. That would be the first and last time Spring Hill would see the end zone in the contest.
Eudora then turned it up a notch. On the ensuing kickoff, Grant Elston took it up the right side of the field for a 50 yard return. After a couple of running plays for 6 yards, QB Andrew Ballock hit WR Blake Jopp for a 30 yard pass that added another touchdown on the board to give the Cards a 21-7 lead. The Cards used up 89 seconds on the clock in the entire drive.
Unlike last weeks game against Paola, this week the Cardinals seemed to be able to stymie the up the middle running game Spring Hill attempted. “Bend but don’t break” was the way the Cards played all night. They allowed Spring Hill to move the ball, but would never let them get close to the end zone. With 3:56 left in the game, Mitchell Ballock intercepted Johnson’s pass on a 4th and 1 play and took it 53 yards for the pick 6. With the extra point, it gave the Cards a 28-7 lead.
Ballock was reading Spring Hill QB Johnson’s mind all night. This was his second interception of the game and had a couple of other attempts where he nearly came up with the ball.
“I saw the quarterback looking my way the whole time,” Ballock said following the game. When asked about the interception that led to the touchdown, Ballock pondered about taking a page from the Tony Gonzalez play book as he was all alone heading for the end zone.
“I was actually thinking about doing a dunk on the goal post as I was heading in, but I didn’t want coach to be mad,” Ballock said laughing.
Grant Elston put the icing on the cake late in the game, when he ran for his 3rd touchdown over the course of two nights with a 33 yard run with :40 left in the game.
Head Coach Kevin Kopecky was happy with his team putting one in the win column Saturday night, but still was frustrated by the teams play.
“Both teams had to come back and play basically starting over with the delay and we were not near as sharp as we should have been tonight,” Kopecky said. “We dropped some balls on offense, we were pretty flat and we still have some work to do.”
The Cardinals will now have just five days to prepare for St. James Academy. St. James is 3-2 on the season with wins over Bishop Ward (KC), Ottawa and Louisburg. In the last three meetings between St. James and Eudora, St. James has taken two out of three. The game will be played on Thursday night at the St. Thomas Aquinas High School Stadium at 11411 Pflumm Road in Overland Park. Game time is 7:00 PM.
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Well, they tried to get the game in.
Eudora Cardinal football fans headed to Eudora District Stadium on Friday night hoping to see explosions from the offense. While they did get to see some early offense from the Cardinals, fans witnessed explosions in the sky as lightning moved into the area. The game against the Spring Hill Broncos started on time at 7:00 PM but was suspended at 7:24 PM with :32 left in the first quarter as lightning finally got close enough to the stadium and School District officials made the decision to pull the teams and the fans from the stadium.
Fans were allowed to either go to their cars or inside the gymnasium of the High School to wait for a decision about resuming play. After nearly an hour of waiting for the storm to pass and see if play could resume, officials decided to postpone the game tonight and resume play on Saturday evening at 7:00 PM.
“The storm just stalled out,” Eudora High Principal G.A. Buie said. “We were hoping it would move through and we could get the game in, but it (the storm) never came.”
Buie said that fans will be let into the Stadium Saturday night free of charge. The Homecoming King and Queen coronation will still take place at halftime on Saturday night. The EHS Homecoming dance will go on as planned tonight at the school. No other homecoming activities will be affected.
The Cardinals will have to wait until Saturday night to find out if their offense will be ready to take n Spring Hill. In the first quarter of the game, the Cardinals started off moving the ball down field on the very first possession. Grant Elston scored less than two minutes into the game on a 29 yard run. The run was set up by a Andrew Ballock to Mitchell Ballock 29 yard pass that set up Elston’s juke to the outside to score on the drive. Elston missed the PAT kick and Eudora was up 6-0.
Spring Hill muffed the kickoff following the touchdown and started from their own 2 yard line, but efficiently moved the ball up the field with a series of runs up the middle. The Cardinal defense was finally able to to stop the Broncos on their own 32 when Spring Hill turned it over on downs. Eudora then efficiently moved the ball with a balanced passing attack between the Ballock brothers and runs by Grant Elston. Elston put Eudora on the board again when he scored on a running play from 10 yards out. This time, Coach Kevin Kopecky elected to go for two and converted on a pass to J.T. Howell in the corner of the end zone giving Eudora a 14-0 lead. Then, as Garth Brooks said, the thunder rolled.
We will continue to have live game updates on Facebook and Twitter Saturday when the game gets restarted and will have a full recap on Sunday. More as the story develops…….tomorrow.