Dave Maxwell
Eureka’s Garrett Todd waits in the backfield for the snap on offense in a recent game. The Vandals expect to host the Whittell Warriors in the first round of the playoffs Nov. 3.

Eureka’s football regular season didn’t end the way they would have hoped, but they can still be happy they have made the playoffs again.

Winless Owyhee forfeited the game Oct. 20 and that left the Vandals with nobody to play last week, and nobody for this week either, the traditional Thursday Nevada Day game.

But they can take solace in the fact that after losing the first three games of the season, all to non-league teams, the Vandals won all their league games and a first place finish in the 1A North-east for the third straight year.

However, the downside to that is they have to next play the No. 2 team from the 1A North-west, which this year is most likely Whittell. On the upside it’s a home game, at Crutchley Field in Eureka Nov. 3.

Fred Minoletti, Vandals coach, said as they await the first game, looking back on his season he is pleased to see “how we have grown, home much improvement we’ve made.”

Early in the season, the first three games for example, Minoletti commented when the team was 0-3, one of the main problems was “we just can’t get out of our own way, committing numerous bad penalties and turning the ball over.”

He said that has all “greatly changed for the better. A group of young freshmen players have come along, as well as everybody else to do much, more better in the error category, so we can feel pretty good about going into the playoffs.”

Should it be Eureka does face Whittell, it will be the first time in three years the Vandals have not had to face Virginia City.

The teams played at Whittell the third game of the season, but lost 54-6, after the Warriors scored 30 points in the first quarter. C.W. Landry was 7-for-15 passing, 76 yards and no touchdowns. On the ground, Landry was limited to 41 yards on eight carries and Mikey Lacovara rushed eight times too, but was held to only 25 yards as the Whittell defense did a good job of containing the Vandal offense. Meantime, Whittell mainly kept the ball on the ground and rushed for 366 yards, mainly behind three runners, Cory Huber’s 144 yards, Dalton Warswick, 118 yards, and Isaiah Womack, 108 yards.

“But we’re going to play a lot better than we did the first time,” Minoletti said. “We have made a lot of adjustments. Have moved guys into different positions, and our young kids have gained a lot of experience that they did not have in the first meeting. And from a coaching standpoint, we know better how to prepare for them and attack a little differently on defense. And our offense is a lot more efficient than it was in September.”

Landry is the team’s rushing leader with 524 yards, but Garrett Todd is close behind with 367 and Brandon Lee with 334. Unofficially, the team has rushed for 1,742 yards and passed for 520. They are scoring an average of 32 points per game, and yielding 22.

Game time as set by the NIAA is expected to be 7 p.m. Nov. 3. Playoff ticket prices will apply.