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Louisburg 14, Eudora 7

EUDORA – In a tie game with 17 seconds left in regulation, Louisburg’s Desmond Doles broke the huddle with his Wildcat teammates.

As he lined up on the outside, Doles kept hearing the words of his coach, Robert Ebenstein, over and over again in his mind.

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“Coach just told me to calm down, catch the ball and use my big strides to get into the endzone,” Doles said.

Doles did exactly that.

He caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Madden Rutherford and gave the Wildcats a 14-7 win over Eudora on Friday at Eudora High School. It was the second time Doles connected with Rutherford for a score.

“They had nine in the box sometimes with cover 1 over the receivers and you have to make to those plays and Desmond made them,” Ebenstein said. “Madden put the ball where it needed to go, and that is what you hope for when you play in this offense. You hope for 1-on-1’s and winning those matchups and we won two.”

The game-winning score brought a lot of joy to the Wildcat sidelines, but a little relief as well as Louisburg overcame three turnovers and two blocked punts to pull out a big road win that pushed its record to 3-1 on the season.

Desmond Doles (left) celebrates with teammate Garrett Lowry after Doles scored the game-winning touchdown in the Wildcats’ 14-7 victory.

On two different occasions, the Wildcats had a chance to put some distance between themselves and Eudora, but fumbled twice inside the redzone and another time while trying to receive a punt.

Still, the Wildcats fought through all that and came up with big stops on defense, including late in the fourth quarter when they forced Eudora to punt deep in their own territory to set up the game-winning score.

“At times it looked we were trying to give it away,” Ebenstein said. “We turned it over twice inside our 10, we had two blocked punts and we had another punt go off our helmet. For our kids to come together in the fourth quarter, move the ball and then stop them – I am proud of them for that. We are in week four, so we aren’t young anymore, but I am proud of the growth they are showing. For a young team to buckle down and make those plays, those are signs of good things to come.”

Louisburg began the contest on a strong note as Rutherford connected with Doles on a slant pass and turned it into a 40-yard touchdown early in the first quarter. As good as the opening drive was, the Wildcats struggled to get going offensively for much of the first half.

Defensively, however, the Wildcats were stingy and held Eudora out of the endzone until late in the second quarter. Louisburg fumbled the snap on a punt and Eudora recovered to take the ball on the Wildcat 20-yard line.

With 48 seconds left in the first half, Eudora quarterback Alex Brown found Elijah Kennedy for a 17-yard touchdown pass and the game was tied at 7-all at halftime.

Eudora’s defense continued to make it hard on the Wildcat offense in the second half. The Cardinals played with nine players in the box at times, and made it difficult on the Wildcat running attack. Still, Austin Moore reeled off some big runs for the Wildcats as he finished 97 yards on the ground on 21 carries.

Quarterback Madden Rutherford hits an open receiver thanks to protection from lineman Brayden White (left) and running back Austin Moore.

“On film this year, they have only shown a 4-3, and in the past they have always been a 4-3 defense, but they came out in a 3-man front, with two outside backers and two safeties over the top and it surprised us a little,” Ebenstein said. “I knew they were going to be ready to go and coach (Phil) Katzenmeier has them ready to go, and well-coached teams like that are tough to beat.”

The Louisburg defense made it tough on Eudora as well. The Wildcats forced four turnovers as Garrett Harding, Kohl Vogel and Will Ridley each recovered a fumble and Blue Caplinger intercepted a pass early in the third quarter.

Doles was also active defensively as he recorded a team-high 11 tackles, while fellow defensive back Christian Tosterud had nine tackles and a forced fumble. Lineman Garrett Lowry added seven stops on the night.

Junior Noah Larson brings down Eudora quarterback Alex Brown for a loss Friday in Eudora.

 

Late in the fourth quarter, Louisburg put one of its best drives together offensively as it moved the ball down to the 1-yard line with under four minutes left in the contest, but fumbled the snap.

The Wildcat defense held once again and forced a Eudora punt, which led to the game-winning drive and Doles’ touchdown catch.

“Coach just said that it was going to be a backside hitch and that I needed to catch it,” Doles said. “That has been a big emphasis for me because I have dropped some of those in the past.

“It was a very good win. We needed a good bounce back win after what happened last week. When it came down to it, we did our best and it showed on the scoreboard.”

Louisburg will try and make it two in a row this Friday when it travels to Baldwin. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

 

LOU               7             0             0             7 – 14

EUD               0             7             0             0 – 7

 

SCORING SUMMARY

First quarter

L: Desmond Doles 40 pass from Madden Rutherford (Drake Varns kick)

Second quarter

E: Elijah Kennedy 17 pass from Alex Brown (Kick good)

Fourth quarter

L: Doles 11 pass from Rutherford (Varns kick)

 

STATISTICS

RUSHING – Austin Moore 26-97; Madden Rutherford 11-25. Totals: 37-122

PASSING – Madden Rutherford 6-14-137-2

 

RECEIVING – Brayden Gage 2-68; Desmond Doles 2-51; Austin Moore 2-18

TACKLES – Desmond Doles 11, Christian Tosterud 9, Garrett Lowry 7, Mitchell Drew 5, Blue Caplinger 4, Austin Moore 4, Kiefer Tucker 4, Garrett Harding 4, Noah Larson 4, Will Ridley 3, Brayden Gage 2, Kohl Vogel 1, Michael Waldron 1.