Looking for their first win of the young season, the Eureka High School football team played its most complete game of the year on Friday night when Smith Valley came to town.
Coming off of a 50-16 home loss to Coleville the previous week, the Vandals looked to slow down a Bulldogs offense that put up 58 points in their lone contest against Lee Vining, and they were able to do so for the better part of the game.
However, Smith Valley scored the games’ only second-half touchdown and the Vandals fell in a thriller 22-12.
“We were a lot more competitive this week, so we were happy about that,” said Eureka coach Fred Minoletti. “Although we had some mistakes, our defense played much better and we were able to keep their scoring down.”
The defense wasn’t the only part that was clicking for the Vandals, the offense was too. Eureka scored the first touchdown of the game and took an early 6-0 lead on a Jake Jensen rushing touchdown in the first quarter.
Smith Valley quickly answered with a touchdown of their own when running back Gustavo Tholke ran one in from short distance. The Bulldogs were able to complete the two-point conversion, something Eureka wasn’t able to do all day, and led 8-6 after the first quarter.
The home team wouldn’t go away that easy though. The Vandals worked the ball downfield in the second quarter and scored their second touchdown on a screen pass from quarterback Paul Padilla to receiver Nick Hornberger to take a 12-8 lead after the failed two-point conversion.
That was the last time Eureka would find the end zone however, as Smith Valley would go on to score 14 unanswered points and win the game by 10.
“They (Smith Valley) had two big plays, a reverse and a long pass that really ended up hurting us,” said Minoletti. “Both those plays led to the touchdowns that eventually beat us.”
While Eureka wasn’t able to come away with the win, they played a much more complete game, and that’s something Minoletti said his kids can take with them when they hit the road this week.
“It was good for the kids to have a competitive game that they were in until the end,” he said. “We’re not satisfied by any means though, and want to continue to make even bigger steps going foerward.”
Next up, the Vandals travel to Round Mountain on Friday night to take on the Knights at 7 p.m. The Knights (0-3) are coming off of a 35-0 loss to Indian Springs last week and like Eureka are looking for their first win of the season.
“We feel good heading into Friday night, it should be a good game,” said Minoletti. “We still have a long way to go, but we’re getting better every week. Hopefully we can get a win there.”