The young Eagles are now 0-2 under the tutelage of head coach Trey Eder who is in his second year at the helm of the Eagle program. The team lacks greatly in experience, and after Friday’s game, the speed and endurance needed for the 6-Man football game in Colorado will have to be developed as the season progresses. Putting freshmen up against the upperclassmen is proving a difficult learning curve for Eads. On Friday in Eads, with a huge Kiowa County Fair & Rodeo and Five-Year Alumni Reunion crowd on hand, the Eagles were defeated by Genoa-Hugo, 64-21.
Genoa-Hugo has a one-two punch in seniors Caid Smith and Nicholas Knutson. The two did it all for the Pirates as all head coach Kenny Book had to do is put one eligible to pass and/or run at the quarterback position (Smith), and the other running pass patterns (Knutson). It worked like a charm, as on the first play from scrimmage at the start of the game Smith hit Knutson for a 49-yard touchdown bomb after Knutson got behind the inexperienced Eagle pass defenders. The PAT kick was good, and right away Eads was in a hole, 8-0. After a turnover on downs, Genoa-Hugo got the ball back and the exact same Smith-to-Knutson pass play worked a second time at the 7:00 mark as Knutson scored on the 55-yard touchdown pass play.
Eads got on the scoreboard after an exceptional defensive play by sophomore backer Angel Medina sacking the quarterback from the backside. With 2:54 left in the first period, freshman Brigden Parker showed the Eagle crowd visions of greatness to come in that kid as he caught an impressive 25-yard pass from Trey McDowell outjumping Smith to do it. Workhorse senior Trevor Randel would punch the ball into the end zone for Eads with a good extra effort from 5 yards out. The PAT kick by freshman Aiden Michael was good and Eads was still in the ballgame at this point trailing, 16-8.
The rest of the quarter consisted of the young Eagles doing everything they could to stop the one-two punch of Smith and Knutson. However, the Eads defense broke down with 1:35 remaining in the first as this time Knutson found the speedy Smith wide open on a 50-yard touchdown pass play. The PAT kick was good and Eads ended the first half in a pickle, trailing 24-8.
In the second period the Pirate twosome continued to run all over the Eads defense scoring on a 60-yard touchdown run when Smith faked a punt on 4th down and 6 yards to go. Knutson scored twice more including a 33-yard touchdown run at the 1:29 mark and a 55-yard run with 44 second remaining in the half. However, Eads showed signs that they could battle against such an onslaught. Medina had a heck of quarter causing havoc for the Pirate offense getting a second sack and an interception. That Medina interception set up a 58-yard touchdown pass from McDowell to Medina. Another point was earned off of Parker’s reception on the PAT.
At halftime Eads was beaten up pretty bad trailing, 44-15.
Going into the second half, Coach Eder elected to sit backer Trevor Randel for a lot of the game as the senior was hobbling with a severely sprained ankle suffered in the first game of the season. This would force senior Damian Hernandez to be moved to the quarterback position for the first time in his career. He did a good job back there as he used the strong blocking skills of McDowell to keep him alive as he looked for potential receivers down field. During the learning curve moments, Hernandez did throw an errant pass that was quickly gobbled up by Smith who was waiting backstage to pounce. And pounce he did as the senior did a pick-six taking it to the house from 57 yards out. All of a sudden, the Pirates were threatening to start the mercy clock, something Eads has not had done to them since 2010, leading 51-15. But Hernandez battled back and moved Eads down the field responding to the challenges the Pirates were putting in front of him. He would finally find some daylight at the 3:49 mark of the third period, taking it to the house from 11 yards out. The PAT was not good, but Eads pulled out of the danger zone of the mercy rule still trailing, 51-21.
The young Eagles battled through a long second half where Smith would run another one up the heart of the Eagle defense from 78 yards out at the end of the third period. Knutson added final insult with .21 seconds left in the third as it looked like McDowell had him down at the 38-yard line but the shifty Knutson rolled over the top of McDowell, ruled never to have touched the ground, and rolled back to his feet and off to the end zone. The PAT was also good and the Pirates had a comfortable lead, 64-21, just short of initiating the mercy clock.
Book pulled his two players, the only two that really gave Eads any problem, and for the entire fourth quarter the Eagles and Pirates moved back and forth in a tug-of-war in the middle of the field, with neither getting the upper hand enough to score.
Eads stats were not available at press time. For Hugo the duo of Smith and Knutson did everything including racking up 591 all-purpose yards. Smith would total 243 yards on the ground and in the air, and his counterpart, Knutson, added 285 yards on the day. Knutson had 5 touchdowns scoring 30 points for the Pirates.
Coach Eder indicated that the first two games of the season would be some of their toughest, as they were, until they get down to the end of the season when they face off against #2 ranked Cheyenne Wells and #3 Kit Carson. Until then, Coach Eder has a big job ahead of him as he tries to build a team that better understands the speed and intensity needed to be successful in the 6-man football world. Eads travels to Cheraw (0-2) on Friday for a 7:00 pm conference match up.
Photo Credit Diann Brown