EUREKA – When Eureka last faced Tremont, it was week three of the 2017 football season and pitted an inexperienced squad (Tremont) against an experienced one (Eureka).
The result was expected, as the host Hornets routed the guests 55-0. Of the 465 yards they gained, 408 came on the ground. Eureka forced three Turks’ turnovers and yielded just 82 yards. A running clock was utilized over the entire second half.
While the Hornets (5-1) are favored, the margin figures to be considerably less than 55 points when the two meet Friday in a crossover Heart of Illinois Conference contest Friday at 7 p.m. from Poorbaugh Field.
“They’re getting back to the basics,” said Eureka coach Jason Bachman of the Turks. “The way they run the football. They do a really good job of swarming to the ball.”
Tremont is 3-3 on the season with their three defeats by a combined 11 points. The Turks ran all over Ridgeview/Lexington this past week, to the tune of 349 yards on 54 attempts, in a 33-16 win. They operate of the double wing-T.
“They’ve thrown four times over the last four games,” Bachman stated. “They’re you’re typical wing-T team. They’ll throw a little out of play action.”
Junior Caiden Buster has rushed for 278 yards over the last two games and is joined in the backfield by classmate Nate Nguyen. The Turks have scored 118 points, which is seventh in the HOIC.
Tremont’s defense, which allowed 335 points during a 2-7 campaign in ’17, has been a lot stiffer this season, as they have permitted 103, which is third best in the conference. Buster (linebacker) and Nguyen (secondary) are among the starters for the Turks, who use a 4-4 alignment.
They’ll face a Hornets’ offense that is starting to hit its stride. Eureka has amassed 898 yards over the last two weeks, as the guests enter on a four-game winning streak.
“That’s our goal. When things are rolling, it’s a good for us,” commented Bachman. “This is a stout defense, the best we’ve faced in a few weeks. They’re design and built to stop the run.”
A win would clinch an at-large berth into the playoffs for the Hornets.
“The motivation is we have to match everybody’s intensities,” Bachman said. “We’re in a playoff game every week. We’ve been approaching it that way.”
According to Bachman, Brady Lenover (knee) is doubtful for the game, while Alex Brittain (back) is listed as questionable.
Zach Zehr is in his second season at Tremont and sixth overall (39-20). Last year’s win gave the Hornets an eight to seven edge in the all-time series.
Notes: In that ’17 game, the Turks punted more times (seven) and had the same number of penalties (four) as they had first downs. Senior Zak Wagenbach and juniors Dylan Michel and Blaze Stieghorst join Buster and Nguyen as two-way starters. Nathaniel Aikman (groin) is likely out for the remainder of the season.