The Eads Eagles knew it would be a tall order and everything would have to go their way if they were to have a chance to defeat the high-octane offense of the undefeated and No. 1 ranked Stratton Eagles in the 6-Man State Football Quarterfinals held in Eads on Saturday. It was not to be, however, and Stratton ran away with the win, 70-16.
Stratton will now face off against #5 Otis in the 6-Man State Semifinals on Saturday. On the other side of the bracket Granada and Fleming will duke it out to see who will advance to the 2022 6-Man Championship game.
The Eads group hung with the powerhouse Eagles from the north for awhile by going to the air having some good success and forcing Stratton to adjust their defensive scheme.
Eads head coach Trey Eder summed up their effort early in the contest, “Going into the game you knew it was going to be a tough one with Stratton being the #1 seed unanimously throughout the year. They had mercy-ruled all their opponents throughout the year, as well. We started the game out a little slow by not gaining many yards and having to punt on the first possession and the punt only gained 10 yards. They scored on the next play without being touched. It was a rough start, and you never know how a team will respond under that circumstance. But we came out the next possession and answered right back with a score by throwing the ball. We knew going into the game that we were going to have to be able to throw the ball, as Stratton was stout up the middle and had a great run defense. However, after our score, it did not take them long to answer and the game was becoming a scoring match. But we executed right back with our passing game to get another score and tie the game. However, from that point forward we were held scoreless and would make some turnovers and they capitalized on them all. We were never able to get them stopped in the game.”
The first Eads touchdown came at the 7:55 mark of the first quarter as Eads quarterback Porter Spady found sophomore backer Stockton Mitchek for a dynamic 65-yard touchdown pass. Spady then added the two-point PAT kick and Eads had tied Stratton 8-8.
After Stratton scored in the air on their next possession, the Eads boys came back on their next possession and again it was the Spady-to-Mitchek connection that got Eads in the endzone for a second time from 21 yards out. The Spady kick was dead on, and the Eads boys had tied the game with Stratton, 16-16 with 5:28 left in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, from there on out it would be all Stratton as senior backer Alex Cruz ran the ball in twice before the end of the first quarter. The second quarter saw Stratton able to capitalize on some Eads mistakes as Cruz continued his assault and was joined by Cyler Notter who passed for another touchdown.
The entire second half saw the JV group for both teams on the field as the running clock was on. Stratton scored once during the third period when junior Avery Archuleta ran one in from 45 yards out.
Stratton dominated offensively against Eads racking up 331 total yards to Eads’ 133. Eads produced 104 yards from the air, but only 29 on the ground while Stratton had 61 yards from the air and 270 yards rushing.
Spady completed 5 passes of 13 attempts for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Mitchek had 3 receptions for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Bo Arnold carried 4 times for 30 yards rushing. Freshman Shaine Winder carried twice for 11 yards, and Mitchek carried 8 times for 10 yards.
Winder led defensively with 5 tackles while Spady added 3 tackles and Kadan Dunlap also had 3 tackles.
Mitchek had 3 kick-off returns for 78 yards.
Eder wrapped up the season by saying, “We played well and had a good season. It is always tough to end the season on a loss but even more tough when it is a loss like that. These boys put a lot of time and effort into this year, and it showed. We went through some adversity this year with injuries and a couple of tough losses.”
Some great memories were made with the Eads team, according to Eder, “We had some great performances throughout the year and for sure one of the highlights will be the botched field goal attempt during the Granada game to win the game, which actually turned into a touchdown throw from Porter to Connor for the win at the buzzer. That will be a game and memory that the boys and myself will remember for a long time.”
In addition, two school records were shattered during the season:
Eads is still young and will have the bulk of their team returning including key starters in Spady, Mitchek, Smith, Arnold, and Uhland. They also have some good underclassmen and talent coming up from a junior high team loaded with 8th graders that won all but one game in the 2022 season.
According to Eder, “I am looking forward to what this group of boys can accomplish throughout the year and then working hard and getting ready to make an even better run for a title next year in football.”
Eads will lose three seniors to graduation including Connor Wollert, A.J. Vasquez and Brenden Reifschneider. Each senior contributed with their leadership each and every day during the season.