EUREKA - Despite the soggy conditions, Eureka upended Fieldcrest 24-14 Friday evening at McCollum Field in the fifth Veteran's Bowl to retain the trophy that doubled as a divisional game in the Heart of Illinois Conference.
The Hornets (7-1, 3-1) triggered six Knights' turnovers, including four in the first half, which helped stake them to a 21-0 lead at intermission.
"It's something Coach (Eric) Seim preaches constantly," said Eureka head coach Jason Bachman of takeaways. "Our defense has been playing pretty well. I feel like one of the biggest things is how physical we are. They play tough."
Coming in, Eureka had forced nine turnovers by their opponents. The half dozen raises that total to 15.
Eureka sophomore quarterback Matt Martin rushed for 119 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown. He also intercepted two passes from his spot in the secondary, while Isaac Ferguson added two quarterback sacks.
Michael Morse finished with 61 yards on 18 attempts and a TD for the Knights (4-4, 1-3), who must win next week when El Paso-Gridley visits, to be in the running for the playoffs.
"We told the guys that the conditions would be wet. You have to hold onto the ball," commented Fieldcrest head coach Derek Schneeman. "It was similar to the Tremont game. We preach ball security constantly. You cannot have that many turnovers and expect to win."
In each of the previous four VB games, the team that has topped the rushing yards category has been the winner. On Friday, the Hornets gained 226 yards to 80 for the guests.
Notes: The win extended Eureka's win streak to seven in a row, while the Knights lost for the first time in their last four. Their turnover margin is at plus 10. Meanwhile, Fieldcrest's margin is minus four, as they have 12 takeaways versus 16 giveaways.
See article on Oct. 18 Woodford County Journal newsstands.