Dave Maxwell
Coach Fred Minoletti talks with Shane Lacovara about what defensive call to make as a young ball boy stands nearby. The Vandals will host Whittell Friday in the first round of the NIAA playoffs.

Today, the Eureka Vandals will again be involved in the 1A Northern football playoffs as they have been the past three years.

But it’s different this time than what the local fans have become somewhat accustomed to – it’s not Virginia City this year. Nope, not Virginia City, it’s her cousin, Whittell, from over on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

The Warriors (8-1) are the No. 2 seed from the west division, and the Vandals, No. 1 from the east.

The history between Whittell and Eureka (5-3) is not long. They have played just twice before with Whittell winning both including 54-6 just this past September 9.

In that game, the Warriors scored 30 points in the first quarter. Eureka’s 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 likes to run and pound the ball, averaging 343.3 yards per game. And they don’t pass much, only 79.7 yards per game. In both games with Eureka to date, they have tried only 12 passes and completed eight.

“But we’re going to play a lot better than we did the first time,” says Vandals coach Fred Minoletti. “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 Eureka’s rushing leader with 620 yards. Garrett Todd has 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.

While things are happening in the north today, so are events in the southern division where they take the top four in the standings. 15-time league champion perennial champion Pahranagat Valley is the No. 1 seed, defending state champion Spring Mountain is No. 2., Beatty is No. 3 and Tonopah is No. 4.

The way the pairings are set, No. 1 and No. 2 host the first round, which will put Beatty (5-2) at Spring Mountain (7-2) and Tonopah (5-5) at Pahranagat Valley(9-0).