It has been a long and challenging football season for the Eads Eagles as their youth and inexperience got in the way more often than not. The season was filled with more than their share of injuries to key players as the Eagles were always out-manned facing off against bigger and more mature teams. However, they have now walked through the fire and despite all odds grabbed a couple of successes that they can build upon as they grow and mature for next year.
After two straight wins, Eads was hoping to finish off their 2018 campaign with a win, but it was not to be as Hugo proved to be just a bit stronger towards the end of the game making less mistakes than the young Eagles. Eads would lose their final game, 51-41, and finished the season with a 2-6 overall record.
Coach Trey Eder noted, “It was a tough loss for us as I felt we had a good chance at winning this last game of the season and ending with some confidence and 3 wins in a row.”
Eder was somewhat disappointed because he felt his team matched up well with the Pirates. “It was a game where we finally had a good matchup size wise for us. We came out and played well and scored first with Damian in the spread, knowing his speed couldn’t be matched by Hugo. Then we made some mental mistakes throughout the game that cost us scores and gave them scores.”
And Eder is right because on their first possession of the game, sophomore speedster Damian Barnes took the ball to the house at the 8:46 mark from 25 yards away. The PAT was unsuccessful, but Eads had struck first leading, 6-0.
Hugo’s Wyatt Miller then crashed through the Eads defense at the 6:05 left in the first period from 2 yards out. The PAT was successful, and Hugo had grabbed the lead, 8-6.
But the youngsters from Eads came back again as freshman quarterback Cade McDowell found Barnes in the end zone from 11 yards out for the TD. This time sophomore kicker Aiden Michael’s PAT kick was a success and the Eagles moved out in front for the second time, 14-8.
Eads was hampered by inexperience as they would make some defensive mistakes allowing Hugo to score. Such was the case toward the end of the first period when the Pirates’ Colby Simmons scored from 25 yards out tying the game at 14-14.
At the 6:58 mark of the second quarter the Pirates had a huge pass play scoring from 12 yards out. The PAT was good, and the Pirates took back the lead, 22-14.
Not to be outdone, Barnes found Michael for a 10-yard pass play that found the end zone at the 5:20 mark of the second period. Michael’s kick was good tying it up again, 22-22.
The two teams battled back and forth through the rest of the period until very late when the Pirates had a 18-yard TD that grabbed them the lead at halftime, 28-22.
The young players for Eads came back into the game at the start of the third period and scored right away on a Barnes touchdown run that went for 42 yards. The kick was not good, but the score was tied for the third time, 28-28.
At the 5:09 left in the third, the Pirates gained the advantage on a 2-yard punch by the big guy Damon Gossett. Genoa-Hugo elected for the 1-point PAT that was successful leaving the third quarter in charge, 35-28.
Things looked bad for Eads at the start of the final period when Morgan Gottsch-Nunn scored for Hugo extending their lead to 43-28.
But Eads came back again. This time it was Michael who serviced Barnes on a beautiful 44-yard TD pass play with 8:45 left in the final stanza. Eads, too, elected to go for the 1-point PAT and they got it from Michael who ran it in. Eads now trailed by one touchdown, 43-35.
Michael then kicked a beautifully executed on-side kick that resulted in a Pirate fumble and Barnes ended up with the ball with plenty of time on the clock. Unfortunately, the young Eagles blew their chance and did not capitalize but instead made a crucial error.
Eder knew that was a game changer. “Going into the game we knew that we could not make mistakes in order to win.”
Instead, Simmons was able to run the ball 30 yards in the wrong direction and the PAT was good for the Hugo. It looked like the game was in the treasure chest for the Pirates as they led 51-35 with 6:50 remaining.
But Barnes wasn’t quite done yet. With just 2:08 left in the game, the sophomore found a hole and outran everyone 45 yards to the end zone making the score, 51-41.
That is as far as the Eagles could go as Hugo maintained possession and ran out the clock.
According to Eder, “It was a back and forth game and we still had a chance to win right until the end. Once again an injury in the game made us make some changes on the fly but the boys adjusted well and fought hard.”
Eads does not lose a single player off their team. They have three juniors who will return and the rest of them are a bunch of good freshmen and sophomores. The key to success for this group is located in the Elementary Gym on the Eads campus. It’s called the weight room and the Eads boys know that is where they will be spending a lot of quality time.
Photo Credit Wilson Photography