EUREKA – The winner of Friday’s 7 p.m. Heart of Illinois Conference large division matchup at Jim McDonald Field will take one step closer toward the postseason.
Both Eureka and host Deer Creek-Mackinaw enter with identical 2-1 overall records.
“It’s huge for both teams,” commented Hornets’ coach Jason Bachman. “Every game we have left, we’re considering it a playoff game. We’re working in that mindset. It’s going to be a fun game.”
The Chiefs rushed 54 times this past week in a 22-8 victory over guest Le Roy, so the Hornets’ defense figures the same is in store this week.
“I do. I think Dee Mack does this a lot. They’ll do double wing-T and then go to the sweep. I think they’ll go to the spread look and get it to the (Levi) Scheuermann kid on the outside.”
Scheuermann, who was the starting quarterback in 2017, moved out to receiver at the start and versus Le Roy was shifted to a wingback spot. The senior gained 87 yards on 16 carries.
In terms of where Scheuermann may be on Friday, Bachman believes it depends on what scheme the hosts use.
“I think it depends what offense they run,” Bachman said. “I think they’ll try to do the spread look, but if it does not work, they’ll go back to double tight, double wing. We feel like we have to get pressure on the quarterback and put them into uncomfortable situations.”
The fullback is senior Dakota Brush (48 carries, 158 yards). Scheuermann’s replacement is junior Zack Horve, who has completed 20 of 37 passes for 267 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Through three games, the Chiefs have turned the ball over eight times.
“Our defensive philosophy is we’re aggressive. We swarm to the ball. We want to take the ball away,” stated Bachman. “We feel like winning the turnover battle is huge for us.”
Senior defensive tackle Wade Wiegand has a team-high 42 tackles, while senior safety Jared Kilby has recorded three interceptions. As a unit, DCM has forced nine takeaways. They operate out of a 4-4 scheme.
“We feel like we want to run the ball,” Bachman said. “We want to establish the run early and try to exploit some things. If they can stop the run with just six (players) in the box, we’ll have to throw it.”
According to Bachman, junior Nathaniel Aikman (groin) will again be out.
Job Linboom is in his 13th season with the Chiefs (77-52). Overall, he is 99-76 in his 18th year on a prep sideline. The all-time series has been one-sided, as the Hornets hold a commanding 20-4 lead. Last season, each team committed four turnovers, but Eureka left town with a 23-7 victory.
Notes: McDonald, a graduate of Eureka College, directed the program for a total of 25 years (1979-80 and from ’83 to 2005), where he compiled a record of 169-75. A dedication ceremony to name the field after him was held prior to the season opener against Tremont. This is their first year of field turf. Half of the Chiefs’ roster (19 of 37 are seniors). Brush, Scheuermann and senior lineman Cade Foffel are the only three starters back on offense. Eureka and DCM are both 0-1 inside the division.