Eudora edges DeSoto in opener

Julie Stewart/The Eudora Reporter

By Matt Gerstner PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: November 5, 2012 - 2:50 PM



On the eve of Halloween, Eudora head coach Gregg Webb did his best zombie impression, slumped over, eyes rolled nearly to the back of his head in a shuffle on his way to the locker room.
 
“And this is what I look like when we win,” he laughed.
 
The Cardinals still have a pulse in the Kansas Class 4A state playoffs after their 13-0 win over a resilient visiting DeSoto squad Tuesday night.
 
“We were very fortunate to win tonight,” Webb said. “Our offensive line was awful, our offense was slow. We looked like we were running through concrete. But we found a way to get the W.
 
“It’s like I tell the guys. An ugly win is better than a pretty loss.”
 
The first half battle went to a Cardinals’ defense that went into the half with four takeaways, including a fumble late in the second quarter that led to the game’s opening score.
 
“Our defense kept us in this game tonight, and I expect that they will carry us in the coming weeks,” Webb said.
 
Eudora picked off DeSoto quarterback Corbin Clark twice and Markis Hill recovered two fumbles in the first two quarters. Off the second fumble, the Cardinals backfield took five plays to take it the 34 yards before finding endzone, the last play coming on a nine yard bootleg from quarterback Andrew Ballock, who also had an interception on defense.
 
“Our defense is good, and we made the plays to force turnovers tonight,” he said. “Every yard was tough tonight, and we just had to keep fighting.”
 
In fact, the yards were so hard to come by, the DeSoto offense had just one completion for minus two yards before the last play of the third quarter.
 
“We didn’t know if there was anything we could take advantage of against them,” Wildcats’ head coach Tom Byers said. “They’re a great team. We just wanted to give ourselves an opportunity to be in it at the end.”
 
And indeed they were.
 
Two completions by Clark and a 13-yard dash by Jacob Price but the Wildcats inside the Eudora redzone in the final period for DeSoto’s best scoring chance of the game. But on third and one at the Cardinal four yard line, a high snap and recovery by Nick Becker killed the ‘Cats scoring chance.
 
“We just missed our opportunities,” Byers said.
 
As for Ballock and Webb, they were, as they both put it, “fortunate.”
 
Eudora’s offense iced the game on the ensuing drive of 74 yards, capped off with a one yard-punch-in by Ballock with two minutes left in the game (the extra point would be blocked).
 
“When every yard is so important, and every first down is monumental, you’re sometimes afraid to throw anything up for them to take advantage of. So we just wanted to limit their opportunities,” Webb explained. “But our offensive line has to get better.
 
“We couldn’t block one thing tonight.”
 
And they will have just four days to correct the mistakes, as Tonganoxie, who beat Atchison on Tuesday, will come knocking on Saturday, Nov. 3.