Sitting at the desk in his modest office, Eudora High football coach Gregg Webb got to thinking about the demands placed on a high school football player.
“The kids really are dedicated,” Webb said. “It’s a tough deal being a football player. You spend so much time at it. It’s such a physical game, such an emotional game, such an intellectual game. It keeps getting harder with kids having so much on their plates.”
In his ninth season as Eudora’s coach, Webb has seen a steady growth in specialization that has led to many three-sport athletes choosing one or two, which places even greater demands on those who do play football.
“Not just football, I’m a little prejudice toward that sport, but being a high school athlete in any sport requires a lot of dedication,” Webb said. “In football, we ask them to come in on weekends and look at film so we don’t have to take up practice time during the week doing it. There’s a lot to being a high school football player.”
And nights such as tonight make it all worthwhile. It’s not only homecoming at Eudora, the school’s new football stadium will be baptized with a dedication ceremony at 6:30 in advance of kickoff at 7 against Anderson County.
Homecoming games played on high school football fields across America give former players a chance to return the scene of their former glory days. In the case of Eudora, the old players will have to find the new stadium south of K-10, on the high school’s campus, not north of K-10, where they played.
Not all the former stars will be in attendance, but even if they aren’t all there, you can be sure these names will be mentioned by somebody in the stands: Luke, Mark, Matthew and Morgan Abel, Joe Born, Evan Cleveland, Chris and Tim Durkin, Brian Harris, Brendan and Tyler Jackson, Jason Marmon, Dustin Moyer, Andrew Pyle, Mike Sledd, Zac Tyler and Richard Wilks.
Somebody likely will do something for the Cardinals tonight that will be referenced at several homecomings in years to come. That somebody very likely could be Boomer Mays.
Boomer not only has the team’s coolest name, he has its most productive, versatile game. That’s why Webb never gives him a single play of rest. Mays leads the Cardinals (3-2) in rushing and tackling and plays on all the special teams units. Mays has made an oral commitment to attend Northern Illinois University on a football scholarship.
“Boomer’s the best long-snapper I’ve ever seen,” Webb said of the 6-foot-1, 230-pound senior. “He gets it back there in a hurry. He can flat-out snap it.”
Every winning football team has a player who mirrors senior tight end/defensive end Hawley Montgomery, a 6-3, 190-pound third-year starter.
“Works his butt off, never complains, never questions what you ask him to do, he just does it,” Webb said.
Attitudes such as that inspire small towns across the nation to flock to football stadiums to cheer for teenagers who shine in the spotlight and gradually work their way into the stands to support the team for generations.
The forecast calls for temperatures in the 70s, creating the perfect setting for folks to enjoy a wholesome evening of outdoor entertainment.