Saturday, November 24, 2007

Orrick defeats Thayer using Single-wing for Missouri Class 1 State Title

Orrick defeats Thayer 20-8 in Missouri Class 1 state title game
The Kansas City Star

Taylor Eubank was a huge factor in Orrick’s victory over Thayer in the state title game. He scored three touchdowns. ST. LOUIS. With 2½ minutes left in the game and Thayer having called a time-out, exhausted Orrick running back Taylor Eubank had to take a knee. The Missouri Class 1 state championship game had been a hard-hitting, grind-it-out type of affair.

As it turned out, it was an ironic sight because, figuratively speaking anyway, Eubank turned out to be the last man standing.

In fact, on the very next play, Eubank took a handoff, broke behind left guard Jerry O’Dell and ran into the end zone from 41 yards out, putting a cap on Orrick’s 20-8 victory Saturday afternoon at the Edward Jones Dome.

The win, in turn, put a cap on a magical season in which the Bearcats finished 14-0 and brought Orrick its first state football championship since 1975.

“(Thayer’s) kids are a lot like ours,” said Pat Richard, who completed his eighth season as Orrick’s head coach.

“Good ol’ farm kids who like to work. They made us earn everything. We knew it’d be a grinder.”

Thing is, as has been the case in several of the Bearcats’ victories this season, the vast majority of their grinding came in the second half and especially in the fourth quarter when, as Richard put it, “I think they got tired of being hit by us.”

Indeed, Thayer controlled the ball for much of the first half and piled up 161 yards of offense in 36 plays while holding Orrick to just 68 yards on 19 plays. But by the end of the game, the Bearcats had 293 yards to Thayer’s 220.

“Typical of our kids, we battled (in the first half) and stayed in it,” Richard said. “In the second half, we came out and physically seized it.

“We went to a single wing in the second half, which allowed us in the fourth quarter to continue to move the ball.”

Still, finding the end zone was difficult the entire afternoon.

Thayer, which also came into the Show-Me Bowl 13-0, held the ball for most of the first quarter by driving from its 14 to Orrick’s 14 before stalling.

Orrick got its first break when Eubank blocked a Thayer punt, and teammate Jordyn Butler recovered at the Thayer 29. On the next-to-last play of the quarter, Eubank broke free on a 30-yard touchdown run. Eubank also added the two-point conversion run.

Thayer tied it late in the half when Michael Lowther’s interception and return to the Orrick 5 set up quarterback Jacob Eckman’s 1-yard plunge.

In the second half, it seemed as if Eubank was the only player who could find significant daylight. With 53 seconds left in the third quarter, he capped an eight-play, 56-yard drive with a 34-yard touchdown run. He then iced things with his 41-yarder after catching his breath on the time-out.

“I was just running hard, taking care of the football,” Eubank said.

“And, I completely trust my line. They tell me which holes to hit, and they’ll be there.”

Eubank finished with 211 yards rushing in 24 carries and three touchdowns. He also had the blocked punt and was in on eight tackles.

“That first season eight years ago we won three games, and we thought it was the greatest thing in the world,” Richard said.

“Those guys I coached then … now I can look them in the eyes. I told them we were going to build a program to where we can win state championship, and we did that. They were a big part of it.”

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