ECHS and the 2014 Vandal Football team steadied for their first divisional game at Crutchley Field under the bright lights this past Friday. Eureka played Wells in each teams’ first division game of the young season. The first home game for the Vandals didn’t disappoint as it reminded many of why football in America, especially high school football, is so beloved and celebrated.
Eureka got on the board early with a hook-up between quarterback Trevor Merritt and receiver Nick Gordon. Wells though did not waste any time evening the scoring with a long run by the Leopards quarterback which was one of three touchdowns of more than 40 yards for Wells. The Vandals added two more touchdowns and a two-point conversion to even the halftime score at 20-20.
The game remained tied going into the 4th quarter as it was any team’s game at that point, but Wells took advantage after that. “We had an opportunity to take the lead, but didn’t execute well enough,” Head Coach Fred Minoletti stated. Minoletti went on to add, “Even though we could have played much better on offense and defense, we still had opportunities to pull the game out.” The Vandals ultimately lost by the final score of 42-28.
Offensively, the air attack between Merritt and Gordon was very effective as they hooked up on 2 touchdown passes. Merritt also had a running touchdown from the quarterback position to attribute for 3 of the Vandals 4 touchdowns. Running Back Paul Padilla added 1 touchdown on the ground.
Offensively, the Vandals looked solid. Defense was Eureka’s Achilles however. “We had a problem of giving up big plays and not capitalizing on opportunities,” Minoletti explained about the defense. He went on to add, “We need to do a better job of making teams drive the field on us instead of giving up points on one or two plays.” Two of the Leopards long touchdown runs came on the first play of the series. This will be a big area to improve on as it will be much more beneficial to the Vandals if they force their opponents to earn their points and potentially cause turnovers later in opposing team’s drives. “If we can take care of the big play, we will be in much better position to win the remaining games on our schedule,” Minoletti concluded.
The first remaining game for Eureka will come this Friday night, Sept. 26 in Carlin against another divisional opponent.