It’s the Great Football, Charlie Brown

This year, KHC features weekly posts related to the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition Hometown Teams, currently touring Kansas.

In 2002, the Eudora High School Cardinals earned a regional championship.  Image Courtesy Lawrence Journal-World Photos.

In 2002, the Eudora High School Cardinals earned a regional championship for the first time in the school’s history. Image Courtesy Lawrence Journal-World Photos.

Ask almost anyone what happens on October 31, and they’ll know you mean Halloween—unless you asked that question in Eudora, Kansas, in 2002.

That year, the town of Eudora declared that Halloween would have to wait until November 1. On October 31, the town already had plans, and they involved the gridiron, not ghosts.

Eudora High School officials had scheduled a football game on Halloween night, and it was thought that so many people would be watching the game that the high traffic might endanger trick-or-treaters. So Mayor Ron Conner and the City Council decided to postpone Halloween, instead.

It might seem extreme, but Eudora had plenty of reason to think it was a good move; in recent years, the Eudora High School Cardinals football team has enjoyed a good deal of success, even making back-to-back trips to the Kansas State 4A Title Game in 2011 and 2012. And the community, always supportive, has rallied around their team even more, taking justifiable pride in the growing length of the Cardinals’ win column.

For a lot of years, those W’s were hard to come by. Forget winning the season. Forget even winning a game. For several seasons in the 1940s and 1950s, the team would have been happy just to consistently score a point, said Ben Terwilliger of the Eudora Area Historical Society.

Things really began to turn around in the 1990s. As the northeast Kansas community experienced a population boom, more than doubling in size between 1990 and today, the team started to grow, too, becoming a dominant force in the Frontier League, which also includes teams from, among others, Baldwin, Ottawa and Spring Hill.

And with that long history of L’s to look back on, the Cardinals’ success over the past few years tastes even sweeter.

Eudora’s exhibition will be on display at the Eudora Community Museum at 720 Main Street, Eudora, Kansas, from July 23rd through September 27th. For more information, contact EudoraHistory@gmail.com or (785) 690-7900.