A first quarter touchdown by Eureka was matched by three from Smith Valley in the second quarter in the opening game of the season for both teams last Friday in Smith Valley.
Coach Fred Minoletti said the 46-16 score came more about because of two late first half touchdowns the Bulldogs got.
“Then in the second half,” he said, “We just couldn’t seem to get it together. It was really close until the last minute of the first half, but we gave up two touchdowns in that final minute.”
Smith Valley scored on a fourth down and goal play with under a minute remaining, Minoletti recalled.” Then they executed a successful on-side kick and scored on a long “Hail Mary” pass. That turned what had been only a 6-point lead to 28-8 at halftime. That just killed us.”
In the second half the inexperience of the Vandal team showed through. Minoletti said, “We’re a young team with a number of players who have not played a lot of varsity minutes. We were kind of feeling things out and had several miscues and mistakes.”
He noted that Ashton Sanders played well as a defensive linebacker and Byron Weeks played well, scoring a touchdown pass.
Eureka scored a touchdown in the third quarter, but Smith Valley answered with two themselves plus another in the fourth quarter.
“We ran the ball most of the time,” Minoletti said. “Our passing game was not real effective.”
This week, the Vandals have a Saturday home game against longtime rival Coleville. It’s the only game on the Vandal’s schedule on a Saturday. Minoletti said, “Coleville requested the game be moved from Friday night to Saturday and we accommodated them.
The series between the Vandals and the Wolves stands a 5-10 in favor of Coleville since 2004. Coleville has won the last three meetings.
The Wolves last visit to Eureka was an 8-6 win in 2017. A uniquely low score for the normally high scoring affair 8-man football is.