Baldwin — Stopping Micah Mason was supposed to be the key to Eudora High beating Baldwin's football team.
The Cardinals managed to limit his yardage -- by Mason's standards anyway -- but never kick-started their own offense. They struggled to execute their plays because Baldwin's defense simply was too quick. That was the X-factor Friday night as Baldwin edged Eudora, 15-7, in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Liston Stadium.
"Our defense has a lot of kids out there that play offense," Eudora coach Gregg Webb said, "and we were having to work so hard on defense to stop them that when we got out there ... jeez, the pressure to get a first down ... and then we'd screw something up."
Mason rumbled for 152 yards on 27 carries against an outstanding but exhausted Eudora defense, but the Cardinals were doomed by their lack of offense. They entered the game as the No. 2 offense in the Frontier League with an average of almost 356 yards per game.
Baldwin held them to 112 yards, 50 of which came on their final drive of the game.
"Our defense has won a lot of games for us this year," Mason said. "We're putting a lot of pressure on our defense now. We used to be an offensive powerhouse, but now we're really getting up there with our defense."
Eudora (4-2) took a brief 7-0 lead on its second possession after a series of runs by Brendan Jackson, Luke Abel and Mark Lister set up Jackson's two-yard touchdown dive. That was its last time to cross midfield until its final drive.
Baldwin (5-1) launched a 78-yard drive after Eudora's first score. Quarterback Jeremy Wright completed five of his first seven passes, and Mason took a draw play 30 yards that ultimately led to his one-yard scoring plunge late in the first quarter.
Two three-and-outs by Eudora gave Baldwin good field position to score the go-ahead touchdown. That came when Wright faked a handoff to Mason and made the three-yard run himself.
Eudora looked poised to answer right before halftime, but Tyler Cleveland's 26-yard pass to Josh Brouhard was fumbled at midfield.
The Cardinals' first possession of the third quarter was its most tragic. Ricky Baker read Eudora's end-around perfectly and drilled Joey Donahue in the end zone for an 11-yard loss and a safety. Both defenses kept the game deadlocked the rest of the way.
"It doesn't matter how many points you put on the board," Baldwin coach Mike Berg said, "it's the W's that counts. That is a very good football team that we beat, so this just brings our program up to the next level."
Baldwin 15, Eudora 7
Eudora 7 0 0 0 -- 7
Baldwin 7 6 2 0 -- 15
E -- Jackson 2 run (Kaup kick)
B -- Mason 1 run (Baughan kick)
B -- Wright 3 run (kick failed)
B -- Baker safety