Football for the Eureka County High Vandals season opens on the road at Smith Valley Aug. 26, and four of the first five games are on the road.
Coach Frank Minoletti had done a nice job with the team, taking a 0-9 record in 2011 and turning the corner to fashion a 22-26 mark since that time. Last year was a little down with only 14 boys on the team and they went 5-5. But they have made the 1A North playoffs the past three years, unfortunately though, they have lost to Virginia City in the first round each time.
Over the years, the teams Eureka has had the most trouble with, not counting Virginia City, have been Carlin, Owyhee, Wells and Smith Valley.
The only home game of the first five is a non-league meeting with Coleville Sept.1. Eureka lost last year in Coleville, 44-20, getting shutout in the second half.
As mentioned, the Vandals open this season at Smith Valley. Eureka won the game last year at home, 70-40, as they scored 36 points in the second quarter, then held off a 26-point Bulldog rally in the fourth quarter.
The win was the first against Smith Valley after three straight losses which had been preceded by three straight wins, but the Bulldogs still have the lead in the overall record 5-6 since 2004.
Another tough game will likely be at Wells Sept. 15. Wells holds the edge in the current series, 5-7 since 2005. It was a close game last year, 38-34, as the Leopards scored twice in the fourth quarter to take the win.
Eureka and Owyhee have gone toe-to-toe with each other the past few years, but the Vandals have won the last three straight including a 66-0 blowout last year to hold a 4-3 edge in the series. They meet Oct. 20 in Eureka.
Carlin has been the biggest problem for Eureka since 2004. The Railroaders hold a 12-4 advantage by virtue of having won 12 out of 13 times between 2004 and 2014.
But the Vandals won a close 42-40 game near the end of the season in 2014, and have beaten the Railroaders twice more since. The teams play at Carlin Sept. 29.
A team Eureka has had the most success against is McDermitt, 12-2 since 2004 and winners the last six times, which includes an unusual three meetings in 2014, although the second time was a 2-0 forfeit. The Vandals host McDermitt Oct. 6.