The Vandals, basking in their third straight trip to the playoffs as 1A east league champs, host the defending state champion Spring Mountain Golden Eagles tomorrow at 1 p.m.
According to MaxPreps, the teams have not played each other in football at least since 2000, and maybe not even before then.
Both teams are 7-1 on the season.
The Eagles are No. 2 in the Southern league by virtue of having been beaten by league champion Pahranagat Valley 74-28 in their meeting in October.
The Vandals only loss was the season opener 46-16 at Smith Valley Aug. 24.
MaxPreps, the national high school reporting service, has Eureka listed at No. 245 in the highly subjective national rankings among small school 8-man teams, and Spring Mountain (6-2) is ranked No. 278. So, on paper at least, it would seem to be fairly evenly matched teams.
Just for comparison, Pahranagat Valley is ranked No. 30 and Smith Valley is ranked No. 72. But as noted, the rankings are highly subjective and change weekly, if not sooner.
The Vandals, riding a seven-game win streak, have scored 372 points and allowed 132. Spring Mountain has scored 339 points and allowed 242.
But you must never overlook the Eagles who likely have the best quarterback in the 1A ranks in sophomore Masiah Pagota. A very athletic triple-threat player, he likes to throw the long ball and can easily launch it accurately 50 yards off his back foot.
He is the 1A state passing leader, 43-for-77, (56%) 1,300 yards and 18 touchdowns. And is also the state leader in rushing touchdowns with 19. He has 853 yards on the ground on 83 carries. In a nutshell, Pagota is most of Spring Mountain’s offense.
For Eureka, the Vandals QB, Clayton Shoda has passed for 799 yards, 39-of-64 (61%) and 12 touchdowns.
Leading ground gainer for the Vandals is Chris Drayton with 845 yards on 95 carries and 13 touchdowns. Shota has 530 yards on 57 carries and two touchdowns.
The main question is will it be an evenly matched close game that goes down to the final play or a runway for one side?
Spring Mountain is quite good at that, having won three playoff games in recent years on the final play of the game.
Elsewhere in the playoffs this week, Wells (3-4) played on the road at Pahranagat Valley (10-0) in Alamo on Thursday. The teams played earlier in the season at Wells. The Panthers scored 36 points in the first quarter and bested the Leopards 68-18.
In the west-central matchups, Smith Valley (8-0) hosts Pyramid Lake (6-2) and Tonopah (7-1) goes to Virginia City (5-3).
Semifinal games Nov. 15-16 will be at sites yet to be determined by the NIAA.