Eudora tops Baldwin for Frontier, district title
By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
Steven Simpson wasn’t quite sure what he was doing wrong lately.
Now he knows and the Eudora Cardinals are Frontier League champs, District 4 champs and will be hosting DeSoto on Tuesday in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs thanks to a 20-0 shutout win over Baldwin Thursday night.
And Simpson led the way. The senior inside linebacker had a little extra motivation Thursday night and it showed. He gave the Bulldogs fits all night long, keeping Dayton Valentine in check and collaring quarterback Cornell Brown for 48 minutes.
“I had really been getting on him,” said Eudora coach Gregg Webb. “And he really came through and played well tonight. Man, what a great game. I told him, ‘This is why I was on you. This is why.’”
Simpson helped bottle Brown and hold the dynamic runner to just 38 yards on 33 carries. He had just five yards on 17 second-half carries. Simpson and the Cardinals were able to catch the speedy Bulldog for negative yards 12 times.
“We just wanted to make sure that Brown didn’t get outside,” Simpson said.
The Cardinals wrapped up their second straight undefeated Frontier League title with the 20-0 win.
“That’s huge,” Simpson added. “It feels great. And to be able to do it against a rival like this is even better.”
The Cardinals will host DeSoto on Tuesday night. The Wildcats are the second qualifier out of District 3.
“It was really about tackling tonight,” Webb added. “These kids did a great job out there.
“And we really played well defensively. That is a tough team that has a lot of players that have the potential to break one at any time.”
The pivotal point of a relatively meager offensive night for both teams came early in the second half. After Eudora had popped out to a 6-0 lead in the final minute of the first half, they kicked off to Baldwin to start the second half. After holding the Bulldogs on a three and out, the Cardinals took over at the Baldwin 21-yard line after a Baldwin 13-yard punt into the teeth of a stiff wind.
Four plays later, Andrew Ballock was in the end zone and the Cardinals were up 12-0 and it was all but over.
The Cardinals added another touchdown with five minutes left in the game when Markis Hill bounced off left tackle and rumbled almost untouched 73 yards for the final score of the game. A two-point conversion put them up 20-0.
Ballock led all rushers with 127 yards on 19 carries. Gabe Cleveland added 52 on 11 carries. Eudora had 266 yards of total offense and the Bulldogs had just 96byards of offense.
Not a whole lot of offense in the first half until the late going of the second quarter when the Cardinals put together the only scoring drive of the opening 24 minutes.
The Cardinals took over at their own 43 with four minutes to play. The Cardinals looked like they were in trouble at the Baldwin 33 when they faced a fourth-and-3 with a little more than a minute to play.
After a timeout, Ballock called his own number, took off over left tackle, bounced it back into the right and ended up with a 27-yard run to the Baldwin 6-yard line. Cleveland went in over the left tackle and into the end zone to put the Cardinals up 6-0 at the half after their extra point sailed wide right.
The Bulldogs did nothing in the first half. They had just 42 yards of offense. Quarterback Cornell Brown called his own number 15 times and was responsible for 33 of the teams 46 yards. The Bulldogs only ran 20 plays in the first half.
The Cardinals weren’t that much better, but they did manage to tally 142 yards of offense. Ballock had 89 of those yards on the ground on 12 carries. Cleveland added 46 yards on eight carries in the first half, including the game’s only score.
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