The success of the Vandal’s football program last year, making it to the state semifinals before losing to Tonopah, raises hopes for better things this year.
Remember the cry of the fans of the old Brooklyn Dodgers in the National League, “Wait until next year!”
Well friends, this is next year.
The Vandals have not been in the Nevada 1A state finals since 2005 when they lost 52-8 to Pahranagat Valley.
The last title for Eureka was in 1999, 20 years ago now. That was a 34-31 win over Smith Valley, after having been the state runner up in 1997 and 98. They had also been champs in 1996.
Eureka’s first NIAA state football championship was in 1983 in the old B league.
A milestone indeed, but one that had to be shared as there were tri-champions in the B league that year.
The Nov. 10, 1983 issue of the Eureka Sentinel carried the story of how that came about.
The headline read: Three way tie forced.
“Peaking late in the season, the Eureka high school Vandals defeated the Alamo Panthers 30-14 on the southern team’s field Saturday in the final game of the season, to bring about a three-way tie for first place in the B division football in the state of Nevada between Eureka, Gabbs and Alamo.”
The story goes on to highlight the fact that Mark Demele was the star of the game with Pahranagat Valley. He scored twice on runs of 1-yard and a 24-yard run later in the third quarter. He also added a pair of two-point conversion runs.
While Eureka was beating Alamo, Gabbs, who had beaten the Vandals earlier in the season, kept the three-way tie by beating McDermitt 34-32 that same weekend.
According to the Sentinel in the Nov. 17, 1983 issue, the decision to declare tri-champions between Eureka, Gabbs and Alamo, came about as the result of a telephone conference call among the superintendents of the three schools.
The Sentinel reported, “The possibility of a three-way playoff was discussed, but the school leaders agreed that limited budgets for travel expenses precluded such a possibility, and it was decided to declare the three tri-champions instead.”
It wasn’t the first time Nevada had tri-champions in football. Coleville, Smith Valley and McDermitt had been so declared in 1971.
And it wasn’t the only title for the Tarantulas at Gabbs either. They had won the 6-man B title in 1960.
For Pahranagat Valley, the Panthers have a state record 20 titles, and everyone knows about their long history of success this century alone.