The Eads Eagles’ football program was dealt a couple of mighty blows when they learned that their two senior all-state players in Porter Spady, who is injured, and Bo Arnold, who moved, would not be a part of a team that was looking to be a real threat to go deep into the post season. Losing the two seniors left just one lone senior on the team and that is wide receiver and end, Keenan Smith.
The Eagles are young and their inexperience in a physical opening game against a season Genoa-Hugo group that is currently ranked #7 in the state was evident in the Eagles opening season loss, 28-14.
Head coach Trey Eder had to be happy about a number of things as his youngsters—mostly freshmen and sophomores with a couple of key juniors—battled through the heat and severe cramping in the legs. As the starters, particularly sophomore Johnny Vasquez struggled to stay on the field with calf cramps, were sidelined for long periods of time in the second half, many youngsters stepped up and held the powerful Genoa-Hugo offense at bay.
Those youngsters included freshmen Gabe Hadley and Adyn Hough and sophomores Kadan Dunlap and Karsten Buller.
Eads starts Smith, the only senior; three juniors in running back Stockton Mitchek, quarterback Case Nelson, and nose guard Spencer Uhland; and then two sophomores including Shaine Winder at the running back and Vasquez at the end.
Eads took possession of the ball first and easily marched the ball down the field utilizing the speed of Mitchek and Winder. They got down to the Hugo yard line and had a 4th down and just 2 yards to go but an elected pass play fell incomplete and handed the ball over to the Pirates.
On the first play from scrimmage for Genoa-Hugo, quarterback Brady Simmons connected with Mikel Bennett in a 59-yard pass play that took him to the one-yard line before Mitchek caught up with him. Konner Rowden-Smith punched it in on the next play and Hugo was on the board first, leading, 7-0.
Four minutes later Eads had moved the ball down to the 6-yard line and was facing a 4th down. Mitchek would punch it in and also carry for the extra point to make the score tied, 7-7, with :30 seconds left in the first period.
In the second period, the Eads defense broke down on a disappointing fourth-down play. The Eagles had slowed the powerful Pirate offense down but lost track of their assignments and allowed a 57-yard touchdown pass play from Rowden-Stum to Logan Sitzman. The extra point attempt was no good but the Pirates grabbed the lead, 13-7.
Unfortunately, with just :59 seconds left in the first half Rowden-Smith got away for a 54-yard touchdown run. The extra point pass play was also good, leaving the halftime scoreboard with a 22-7 Hugo lead.
Early in the third quarter Eads would find paydirt when Smith came off the line carrying the ball for a 50-yard touchdown play. The extra point was made by Mitchek and all of a sudden, the Eagles were back in the contest trailing by just a touchdown, 22-14.
The young Eagles spent a lot of time on the field late in the third quarter and for most of the fourth quarter as at least two starters were on the sideline trying to get ahead of the severe leg cramps. The youngsters held the Hugo group down for most of the quarter but would lose track of Simmons who burned them in an 11-yard touchdown pass play coming from Trey Smith. The extra point was no good, but Genoa-Hugo extended their lead to 28-14.
Eads had another chance at the 3:09 mark when they had a fourth-down play that would mean first and goal to go on the 8-yard line. Unfortunately, the Pirate offense forced Eads to cough up the ball and that would be the ball game as the Eagles would not get another possession.
Stats were not available after the game.
Genoa-Hugo is now 1-0 and will welcome Kit Carson in Hugo on Fri., September 1.
Eads, now 0-1, will be on the road on Fri., September 1 to take on Sierra Grande.