Eudora Not once this season had Baldwin High been shut out. The Bulldogs had never scored fewer than two touchdowns.
Eudora High, meanwhile, had been averaging more than 40 points a game and hadn't scored fewer than 26 in any outing.
In that sense, Eudora's 14-0 win Friday night in the Class 4A district finale for both teams was surprising. Unless you factor the wet and windy conditions.
"I think every team in the state that played tonight had low scores," Baldwin coach Mike Berg said. "The field conditions were treacherous. It slowed them down and it slowed us down."
The north wind wasn't brutal, but it was persistent. The rain wasn't heavy, but it never let up and, combined with rain the previous day, left the Cardinals' Laws Field in deceptively poor shape.
"It didn't look that bad," Baldwin quarterback Blake Wieden said, "but it was like a sponge."
Big plays were practically non-existent.
"We had holes," Berg said, "but those holes would close and they'd make a tackle."
Eudora managed two big plays, and both resulted in touchdowns. Baldwin had none. The closest the Bulldogs came to Eudora's end zone was late in the first half when a bad punt snap gave Baldwin the ball inside the Cardinals' 30-yard line.
Baldwin couldn't capitalize, however, and the 'Dogs' problems only deepened in the third quarter when, operating against the wind, they were able to run only seven plays.
Wieden's short punts against the stiff breeze gave the Cards short fields twice during that stretch. The first Eudora drive stalled when quarterback Kent Swanson fumbled at the Baldwin three and the 'Dogs took over, but Swanson didn't waste his second opportunity by throwing a 26-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Abel in a low-percentage fourth-and-12 situation.
"That was a well executed play on their part," said Berg of the Swanson-to-Abel aerial.
Added Wieden, who was playing in the secondary at the time: "It happens. He (Abel) ran a good route and he (Swanson) threw a good pass."
Eudora (9-0) avenged last season's loss to the Bulldogs in Baldwin, a defeat that prevented the Cards from posting a perfect regular season record.
"Last year was different," Berg said. "It was us at 7-1 against them at 8-0, so it was two great teams playing."
This year's Baldwin team finished with a 4-5 record.
"You always hate to end on a loss," said Wieden about his last game in a Baldwin High uniform. "But we were the underdogs and we played our hearts out."