EUREKA – Home has definitely been sweet for the Eureka football squad this season. For the first time in over three decades, they won all of their regular season contests as a host following a 34-3 triumph over Heart of Illinois Conference large division foe Tri-Valley on Oct. 25 at McCollum Field.
The other time it occurred was in 1986.
“I did not know that,” said Hornets’ coach Jason Bachman when informed of the factoid. “Obviously, to win at home on our field is nice. Just proud of the kids to be able to get to share this and get all of their photos taken. I’m especially happy for our seniors to go out a winner.”
The Eureka (7-2, 3-2) offense was in fine form, as they churned out 434 yards of total offense (250 rushing, 184 passing)
A pair of Aden Sears’ jet sweeps, one for 31 yards and the other of 37, plus Cade Gold’s point after, gave the Hornets a 21-3 lead with three minutes and five seconds left in the second period.
Earlier, Sears hauled in a 73-yard pass from Matt Martin for a 14-3 advantage.
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Sears touched the ball seven times and tallied 208 yards (four receptions, 122 yards plus three rushes for 86 yards). Martin completed 13 of 17 passes for 184 yards and also gained 112 yards on 14 carries on the ground.
“We felt we had to come up with big plays,” commented Bachman. “Be aggressive, be balanced, convert third downs. We have to be able to play our style of football. That’s the mindset we have to have going into the playoffs.”
The defense kept the Vikings (4-5, 2-3) out of the end zone. Their only points came on a 38-yard field goal from Bryce Bedillion. Junior back Zander Woodring gained 111 yards on 14 carries for T-V, who saw their streak of 11 straight playoff appearances end.
Their lone trip in the red zone resulted in zero points. A 45-yard run from Woodring put the ball at the Eureka 5. But four plays yielded just one yard, as the Hornets took over on downs.
“That last series for sure,” commented Bachman of the defensive effort. “It was a good boost for our defense going into the playoffs.”
Eureka promptly marched on a seven-play, 96-yard drive that culminated with a Sears’ 18-yard jaunt to the right and into the end zone.