Eureka and Coleville did something last Friday night at Crutchley Field you seldom see in eight-man football: a final score of 8-6.
The eight-man game is geared for high scoring, usually by one team or maybe both. Last year alone, Eureka had an average of 31.6 points per game. But it is early in the season and there will be more games with better scoring.
And it wasn’t that the teams didn’t have their chances or try hard, both did without doubt, but the scoring just didn’t happen.
The old saying of “it was beauty killed the beast,” in this case it was turnovers that killed the Vandals.
They had four fumbles, lost three and two pass interceptions. Coach Fred Minoletti said, “We didn’t execute well on offense. We had a lot of opportunities, we just couldn’t get out of our own way. You turn the ball over six times, you’re not going to win many games. We did well at times, but just not very consistent. Bad mistakes at bad times. We played much better though on defense than we had against Smith Valley.” C.W. Landry was credited with five solo tackles. Five other players assisted on six tackles each.
But the turnovers were the downfall of the team, especially in the third quarter. Three times the momentum of a potential scoring drive was ended by a fumble which gave Coleville a chance, but they couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity either except once when they got the go-ahead score.
The Vandals outmatched Coleville in total yards gained for the game, 302 to 243. Landry was just 3-of-6 passing for 38 yards, but the running game was strong for Eureka. Freshman Wyatt Anderson rushed eight times for 97 yards, Landry 18 times for 74 yards, Garett Todd nine times for 57 yards and Brandon Lee had eight rushes for 38 yards.
Eureka got on the board first 6-0 at 6:18 in the first quarter after they held Coleville on downs on their first possession and had good field position on the 25-yard line following a bad punt by the Wolves. Brandon Lee scored on a five-yard run, but they missed the point after conversion.
Coleville did not pass as much in the first half as had been expected. 6-foot- 3 Chace Green was putting a lot of pressure on Robles, forcing him out of the pocket and having to run.
In the second half, Coleville used a more balanced attack of pass and run, mostly with Alejandro Gomez (5-9, 189). He rushed 19 times for 107 of Coleville’s 126 yards on the ground. Quarterback Andrew Robles was 12-for-20, 117 yards and one touchdown.
In the third quarter, Gomez ran the ball often. Usually for short gains, but consistent ones. After getting into the red zone, Coleville would turn to the passing game for the score. Finally, at 3:56 of the third quarter, Robles connected on a 15-yard touchdown to Ivan Gonzalez. The two-point conversion gave the Wolves an 8-6 lead which accounted for the final score.
In the fourth quarter, after taking the ball over on their own five-yard line, the Vandals give the ball to Garett Todd who had three good runs to move the ball to the Coleville 40-yard line. However, the drive was stopped by a Coleville interception at 7:08 remaining.
But the Vandals held and forced Coleville to punt. Unfortunately, the next drive too was stalled by a fumble at 6:27 that pushed the team out of scoring position.
Still, Landry had a chance to give Eureka the lead in the final minute, but his pass was ruled to be caught out of the back of the end zone.
Minoletti said even in a loss, “I think it was positive because we can learn much from this game.”
This week the Vandals (0-2) play their final non-league game against Whittell (1-0) in Zepher Cove, along with the east edge of Lake Tahoe. The Warriors who had a bye last week, won the game in Eureka last year quite handily by a score of 68-8. They opened with a 42-point first quarter.