EUREKA – At one point, Eureka’s offense was flying under the radar.
It is not any longer, as the Heart of Illinois Conference large division football hosts saw two players out of the backfield exceed 100 yards rushing in a 35-12 victory over El Paso-Gridley on homecoming on Sept. 28 at McCollum Field. They have scored at least 35 points in three of the last four games.
The Hornets (6-1, 2-1) built a 21-0 lead at the break courtesy of two Matt Martin touchdown runs and one from Hunter Gladson.
“We knew we had to do something early to make it challenging for them,” said Eureka coach Jason Bachman of getting out to a fast start. “We’ve been preaching putting together and finishing off drives. We’ve been doing that.”
Eureka, who ran for 280 yards versus Ridgeview/Lexington, amassed 256 against the Titans (3-4, 0-3). Martin called his own number 16 times for 117 yards, while Gladson added 102 yards on 14 carries.
Martin also threw an 18-yard TD to Reuben Roberts and Jonah Hahn scored on a 32-yard jaunt, as the Hornets increased the lead to 35-0 less than two minutes into the final quarter.
While Eureka was mostly a running offense, they have mixed in a passing attack with the sophomore Martin, who completed five of nine passes for 83 yards.
“I saw glimpses of it early where we would move the ball, but stalled inside the 20,” Bachman said. “I feel like Matt is developing as a quarterback and our receivers are making plays. Our o-line is blocking and giving us a chance to throw. Him (Martin) being a dual threat and doing what we do, we feel like we can put pressure on defenses. We used to stress about teams loading up the box. Now, we do not have to.”
The Hornets’ defense kept the Titans off the scoreboard through three quarters. Zach Herr threw scores to Kaden Barth (18 yards) and Ryne Faulk (77). On the ground, Faulk rushed for 141 yards on 26 carries. That pushed him over 1,000 on the season (1,099).
Bachman was pleased at the physicality the defense displayed.
“They were. That’s been a point of emphasis,” Bachman said. “For the last three weeks, the coaches have been pointing that out. We’re really swarming to the football. Things are going our way. We just have to sustain it.”
Trevor Getz and Martin each intercepted a pass. Getz’s pick led to the Roberts’ TD catch, while Martin turned his into points with a two-yard scamper to give the hosts a 14-0 lead with six minutes and 56 seconds left in the first half.