Eureka had a strange entry into a football regional playoff game. McDermitt originally forfeited their Oct. 25 league game against Eureka which seemed to put Eureka in the playoffs and pushing Wells out of a three way tie for first place and thus out of the playoff scenario. After a final decision by the NIAA, it was concluded that Eureka would have to play McDermitt in that final league game of the regular season to see if they would win the tie-breaker. More specifically, Eureka had to hold McDermitt to six points of fewer to win the tie-breaker against Wells for the final playoff spot in the north.
The Vandals seemed poised to not let their season end on Thursday, Oct. 30 against McDermitt at home. The game was designated to Eureka’s home field as McDermitt forfeited their home field as well with their decision not to play the originally scheduled contest. With Eureka, seemingly not being able to give up a single touchdown, played fast and with purpose to start the game.
Eureka forced McDermitt to punt on their first possession of the game and capitalized on the very next play from scrimmage. Paul Padilla took the first offensive snap for the Vandals about 40 yards around the right side on a sweep for the opening touchdown of the game. Shortly there after at the 8:07 mark in the first quarter, Padilla added another long touchdown run for his 2nd touchdown of the game to make the score 16-0 in favor of the Vandals early in the game. A safety forced by Eureka made the score 18-0 at the 6:29 mark in the first quarter.
Padilla added his 3rd touchdown of the first quarter as he took a punt back 55 yards to the house which gave the Vandals a 26-0 lead at the 6:10 mark of the first quarter. Eureka showed no complacency from the start of the game and continued to light up the scoreboard. Quarterback Trevor Merritt added a quarterback keeper touchdown followed by a two-point conversion that made the Eureka lead 32-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Running back Sam Gomez started the second quarter off with a touchdown and Paul Padilla added his 4th touchdown of the game against the Bulldogs later in the quarter to end the scoring 58-0 at the half. After some deliberation about McDermitt’s number of players of lack there of (10 total players suited up for the Bulldogs) the game was called at half. McDermitt had 3 players that were hobbling from injuries which left them with only seven healthy players. The referee’s decided not having a full eight players healthy for McDermitt was not acceptable to continue the game.
The Vandals defense did not give up an inch all night as they knew that one touchdown and a two point conversion could end their season. Eureka won 58-0 to earn their first playoff bid in almost five years.
Eureka did there job of holding McDermitt scoreless which granted them a spot to play at Virginia City against the Muckers in the regional playoffs. Eureka played Virginia City in their first regular season game of the year. The Vandals had early struggles holding onto the ball and sustaining drives which led to a 49-0 loss to the Muckers. Eureka has improved quite a bit since then as they have been clicking on offense and slowly improving on the defensive side of the ball.
Head Coach Fred Minoletti and his team will try to ride their 4-game win streak into their playoff game in Virginia City on Saturday at 1 p.m. and avenge their early season loss against the Muckers. If Eureka finds a way to win, they would most likely see the Pahranagat Valley Panthers in the next round. Pahranagat has the nation’s longest high school football winning streak in the country going on 6 1/2 years without losing a game. First thing is first though, Eureka will have to knock off a legitimate team at Virginia City which is no small task.