Eureka Football Start Playoff Run

Tyler PosloskyWeek 9 – Eureka 38, Hazelwood East 0

HEADER: Eureka Secures No. 2 Seed in District as Playoffs Begin

 On a night when Eureka alum and former Marine Cpl. Riley Baker was honored during a pregame ceremony, the Wildcats took care of business and locked up the No. 2 seed in their district with a 38-0 win over Hazelwood East to close out the regular season.

 After numerous penalties on the offense last week against Lindbergh, Eureka head coach Farrell Shelton made adjustments. Juniors Austin Crump and Cole Reat took over at center and guard, while senior Connor McDonald made his first start of the season at tackle.

 Matching up against a tough Hazelwood East defensive front, it took a few plays for the newly constructed offensive line to gel.

 The first Eureka drive featured a five-yard loss by Brett Geisz, and a false start on third-and-12. The Wildcats were forced to punt. Geisz’s kick pinned the Spartans at their own 16.

 Reat, who saw a lot of snaps on defense, bull rushed his way through the Spartans’ offensive line and strip-sacked quarterback Tyrone Johnson. The Wildcats recovered the ball at the Spartans 1 to set up a first-and-goal.

 One play was all Eureka needed to get on the scoreboard. Geisz’s quarterback keeper from one yard out gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead with 8:58 to play in the first quarter.

Later, Geisz extended the lead with a 14-yard touchdown pass to slot man Bobby Saunders. The play was a designed bubble screen. Geisz allowed his linemen to get downfield before finding Saunders who took care of the rest.

 Down 14-0 at the beginning of the second quarter, the Spartans had a chance to make it a one score affair, but Johnson threw his second interception of the game, this time to Daniel Shelton, who returned it to the Spartans 44.

 The Wildcats weren’t able to capitalize on the good field position.

 A scary moment happened with 2:31 remaining in the first half when senior defensive lineman Brendan Schulte dropped to the ground clutching his left knee. At first glance, the injury appeared serious. Schulte was helped off the field and didn’t put any weight on his left leg.

 Shelton said Schulte suffered a “knee injury.”

 “We’ll see, a lot of kids get a shock and awe a little bit when an injury occurs, so we’ll see,” he said. “We’ll evaluate it. This is [the] playoffs, so next man up.”

 Schulte was on crutches after the game.

 Eureka went into halftime sporting a 14-0 lead.

 That’s when the offensive line clicked.

 The Wildcats put up 24 points in the third quarter. Geisz added his second rushing touchdown of the game from two yards out. Later, he connected with Saunders for the second time to bust the game open.

“I thought they did a great job,” Shelton said of his offensive line.

 Eureka forced another turnover 10 seconds into the fourth quarter when Brock Geisz pressured Johnson into throwing an ill-advised pass that fell into the hands of Mike Hill, who sprinted into the end zone for the pick six.

 The win marked the second consecutive shutout and fourth of the season and assured Eureka of at least two home playoff games beginning Friday against Seckman (2-7).

 “It’s huge,” Shelton said of getting home field advantage. “We had to make a statement and make sure that we were well on our way of insuring that.”

 Statement made.

Click here to listen to the game vs Seckman

 

 

Coach Shelton – “It’s all about the process.”

Tyler PosloskyClick here for the REPlay …

Nine weeks into the season, Eureka sports a 6-1 overall mark, including a perfect record in a lightweight conference. Yet, head coach Farrell Shelton’s message hasn’t changed.

It’s all about the process.

Pick any of the unusual circumstances leading up to Eureka’s eventual 40-0 rout over Lindbergh and you could make a case for the multitude of penalties and mental lapses made by the Wildcats. Hours before kickoff the game was moved to Parkway Central because of unplayable field conditions. To top it off, it was Eureka’s Homecoming.

And despite recording its third shutout of the season, Eureka made far too many senseless mistakes that to Shelton’s liking.

Without pausing, Shelton said he wasn’t surprised by the penalty-marked performance.

“It’s the team, it’s Week 9, and I could see it coming,” Shelton said. “It was just a little bit and a little bit and then tonight … it just won’t stop. It’s the same penalties that we made tonight that [we’ve made before].”

Brett Geisz rushed for a season-high 203 yards, passed for 151 and scored three total touchdowns. Halfback Stephen Erutti was a factor when his name was called. Most important to the naked eye, the Wildcats hung 40 on their opponent.

However, the Flyers were no juggernaut. They went winless in the conference and allowed nearly 31 points per game in their four conference tilts.

“I think we’re talented [offensively], but you never know,” Shelton said. “When you play teams that you’re more talented [than] you can get away with that stuff.”

That was the case against the Flyers.

The Wildcats scored on their opening drive on Geisz’s one-yard quarterback keeper.

Then the penalty flags started flying.

Eureka’s next drive began on their own 25, but was spoiled by a chop block. A fake punt failed and the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs.

Trailing by a touchdown, it looked as if Lindbergh was going to tie the game. But on third-and-7, linebacker Zach Seiler intercepted Logan Offner’s pass. It was Seiler’s first interception of the season.

The turnover gave the Wildcats’ offense a chance to redeem themselves.

But to no avail.

The mishaps continued on Eureka’s next drive. A pair of false starts and one of a handful of passes that grazed off the fingertips of Cam Nisbet kept the offense out of the end zone. However, Bo Highfill extended the lead to 10-0 with a 27-yard field goal.

Shelton addressed the first-half penalties at halftime, but little changed in the second half even though Eureka scored 14 points in the fourth quarter.

“What was disappointing was it was seniors and it was [guys] making the same mistakes,” Shelton said. “I never preach that. I preach the process, not the end result.

“The teams that move into the championship understand that. I’ve got a group of kids that don’t. I’ve got a great [defense] of seniors. But in Class 6, you’ve gotta have a large number of people that are all playing together.”

An emotional win for Eureka last Sat.

Tyler PosloskyWeek 6 Gamer | Eureka 31, Marquette 7 – Click here for the REPlay …

Eureka could’ve laid down against Marquette last Saturday night.

 After everything this team, school and community had been through over the past week, no one would’ve blamed them.

 As Marquette glided through Eureka’s defense for a touchdown on its opening drive, the game was heading in an ugly direction. And it appeared Eureka had no answers.

 Then, something special—almost surreal—happened. Driven by raw emotion, the Wildcats came together, rallied from an early seven-point deficit and scored 31 unanswered points to cap the win.

 It was more than a team win, according to Eureka head coach Farrell Shelton. It wasn’t all about football.

 “It’s what makes Eureka such a classic community school,” Shelton said following his team’s third straight win. “I was very proud.”

 Eureka’s first possession was spoiled by two penalties. An illegal block in the back and an illegal procedure forced the Wildcats to punt from deep inside their own territory.

 Brett Geisz’s rugby-style punt took a Marquette bounce and settled at the Eureka 48 yard line, where the Mustangs took over. Jack Whitworth’s 25-yard rush set up Demarko Johnson’s 29-yard touchdown run to give the Mustangs the early lead and the momentum.

 On Eureka’s ensuing drive, Geisz threw an ill-advised pass near the Marquette sideline. Mustangs’ defensive back John Jackson jumped the route and intercepted Geisz to halt the drive.

 With a chance to go up two scores, the Mustangs were unable to pull through when Charlie Kreh’s 35-yard field goal attempt was blocked at the line of scrimmage.

 Just when the Wildcats appeared to find their offensive rhythm, running back Stephen Erutti coughed up the ball at the Marquette 31 with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter.

 The Mustangs took over, but to no avail. The Wildcats stood on their heads against a potent rushing attack from the Mustangs. It was only a mater of time before Geisz and the rest of the Wildcats’ offense got going—their next drive to be exact.

 On fourth down near midfield, Shelton called for a fake punt. It worked to perfection. Geisz—positioned a few yards deeper than normal—took the snap and fired a dart to Daniel Shelton, who ran it all the way down to the Marquette 31 for a new set of downs.

 It was Eureka’s second fake punt in as many games, and the trickery eventually set up Cameron Nisbet’s 10-yard touchdown run to tie it 7-7.

 The score tilted the game for good.

 The Wildcats took the lead on Geisz’ one-yard rush to make it 14-7. Geisz avenged his first-quarter interception with a quarterback keeper on another fourth-down conversion to keep the drive alive.

 Later in the quarter, Erutti made up for his earlier fumble with a four-yard run to give the Wildcats a 14-point cushion.

 “We were off 15 days, we had the bye [week], you could tell in the first half we came out a little rusty,” Shelton said. “I think all of us, players and coaches, we were trying to get in the swing of things.”

 Marquette never recovered.

 Bo Highfill added a 37-yard field goal to make it 24-7 with less than five minutes to play in the third, and Erutti recorded his second rushing touchdown of the night, this time from seven yards out to seal the win.

 After the game, Shelton awarded the game ball to the Eureka Golden Line in memory of Natalie Timm, who was tragically killed in a car accident not two weeks ago.

 “I told [the team] we’ve got 2 1/2 hours to maybe forget things, but then the reality is going to hit with the Timm’s family, the Golden Line family and the whole Eureka community.”

 

Eureka Football Continues to Roll

Tyler PosloskyFarrell Shelton’s game plan heading into Fort Zumwalt East was more about defense than offense. The head coach of Eureka was worried about his defense matching up against the Lions’ offense fueled by quarterback Andy Barrett and receiver Daniel Morris.

 After all, both Barrett and Morris are two of the area’s top players four games in.

 “Their offensive firepower was what really worried us,” Shelton said following his team’s 38-0 thumping over the Lions. “Could we keep up with them? Could the back end of our defense stay with them?”

 Yes to both.

 The Wildcats’ senior-driven defense erased every concern their coach had following another stout performance. In fact, they held Barrett in check all night. When the Wildcats weren’t crashing through the Lions’ offensive line, they were flushing Barrett out of the pocket, forcing him to beat them on the perimeter.

 Barrett, who threw for 205 yards in Week 2, managed just 47 yards against the Wildcats. Morris was held to one catch for 7 yards. For perspective, Morris set a state record for yards per catch in a single game in the season opener against Francis Howell Central.

 The Wildcats scored on their first play from scrimmage to jump to an early lead. Senior quarterback Brett Geisz heaved a pass down the far sideline into the hands of junior receiver Cameron Nisbet for the score.

 Down by a touchdown, the Lions were still very much alive. However, their next series proved devastating.

 The Lions had the ball near midfield when running back Devon Dillon took the handoff from Barrett but was hit hard near the line of scrimmage. The ball was jarred loose, and linebacker Cole Reat scooped it and rumbled 48 yards for the touchdown.

 Eureka’s sideline erupted with high fives and fist pumps. The touchdown was a bit ironic. Reat started the first three games on the offensive line. However, last week, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior made the switch to linebacker. The move paid off.

 To his own admission, Reat was a bit surprised when he saw the ball bouncing on the turf.

 “I was thinking don’t drop on it, don’t fall on it, don’t fumble it … all the things you can imagine running through your head,” Reat said.

 The Lions were dumbfounded. Any momentum that would have been was gone in the blink of an eye.

 With a 14-0 edge, the Wildcats kept their foot on the throttle.

 A 10-yard score by Stephen Erutti and a 31-yard touchdown pass from Andy Coulter to Dylan Brems ended the first quarter.

 The second stanza was much the same as the first. Eureka dominated on both sides of the ball. Coulter threw his second touchdown pass of the night, this time a 13-yard strike to Nisbet.

 “You got seniors that cherish the opportunity to be out there and that’s what I’m proud of,” Shelton said. Our entire starting defense, they understand the clock’s ticking on ‘em. We only have so many of these Friday night’s left, so let’s make it special.”

Click here for the replay …

 

Hazelwood Central – Eureka Football Epic

Tyler PosloskyHawks Edge Wildcats in Epic Game

Click here for the REplay …

If you like thrillers, last weekend’s tilt between Hazelwood Central and Eureka provided just that, and more.

With less than a minute remaining in the game, Eureka called on senior place kicker Bo Highfill for a 30-yard field goal try that would have capped a remarkable game for the Wildcats. However, the Hawks blitzed everyone, blocked the kick, and triumphed 23-21.

Hawks head coach Van Vanatta had seen this game-ending scenario before. Against Kirkwood in 2010, his team blocked a field goal to seal a victory. Though, Vanatta said this trumps the one four years ago.

“This is probably the most epic game that we’ve won that I’ve been a part of,” Vanatta said following the game.

Wildcats head coach Farrell Shelton echoed his counterpart’s sentiments.

“The way both teams battled there, you hate seeing a high school team lose, especially yours,” Shelton said. “I thought we battled. It [the game] literally went down to the last play.”

More than 24 hours passed between kickoff and the final play. Inclement weather caused the game to be suspended on Friday night. Shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday, play resumed.

Despite the lengthy delay, both teams picked up right where they left off, trading punches on both sides of the ball.

The Wildcats’ defense forced a three-and-out on the Hawks’ opening possession of the game to grab early momentum. However, the Wildcats couldn’t capitalize on their first drive when Highfill missed a 47-yard field goal.

Another defensive stand by the Wildcats gave the offense a chance to cash in. To no avail, the Wildcats couldn’t crack the Hawks’ stingy front seven, turning the ball over on downs after going for it on fourth down.

The Hawks finally broke through on their next possession. Senior quarterback Mike Glass found his groove. Slot receiver Jordan Croft broke free and Glass threw a dart to his wideout for a 51-yard gain. The big play set up a one-yard touchdown run by Glass.

“[Glass] makes it go,” Shelton said. “They got a senior offensive line. But when you [have] a triggerman like [him], he’s gonna always put you in a good [place]. He’s a gamer.”

No matter, Eureka return man Shaun Smith took the ensuing kick 85 yards for a touchdown to tie the game, 7-7.

A blocked punt by Hazelwood Central led to a 31-yard field goal from Brendan Kocurek, who hadn’t kicked a field goal in two years, according to Vanatta.

With a chance to tie the game, Highfill missed his second 47-yard field goal of the night.

The first half ended with the Hawks sporting a 10-7 edge.

Eureka took its first lead when senior gunslinger Andy Coulter fired a dart to Bobby Saunders, who outran the Hawks’ secondary for a 25-yard touchdown.

Back came the Hawks. Glass galloped 23 yards to regain the lead and the momentum. Kocurek padded the lead with a 32-yard field goal.

Once more, the Wildcats’ seniors took over. A 46-yard pass from quarterback Brett Geisz led to a seven-yard touchdown run by Cam Nisbet. The 6-foot-4 junior receiver came in motion as the ball was snapped. Geisz handed it to Nisbet who darted around the right side for the score.

A 33-yard field goal from Kocurek made it 23-21 in favor of the Hawks.

In the waning moments, the Wildcats were in good position to end it. Despite missing his first two tries, Highfill’s third field goal attempt didn’t make it past the line of scrimmage before being blocked.

“It happens,” Shelton said of Highfill’s rough outing. “He’s a first-team, all-state kicker.”

Hazelwood Central 23, Eureka 21.

Click here for the REplay …

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Week 3 Preview: Hazelwood Central (2-0) at Eureka (2-0)

Tyler PosloskyWeek 3 Preview: Hazelwood Central (2-0) at Eureka (2-0) – Click here for the game …

 

Eureka will be revved up for its home opener tonight against Class 6 powerhouse Hazelwood Central. Both teams reached the state semifinals last season with Eureka losing to Blue Springs and Hazelwood Central falling to Rock Bridge.  

Both teams enter the tilt with identical 2-0 records on the season. However, the Hawks will be without STL Top 30 and senior running back Kevin Batt, who suffered a broken foot in the second half of last week’s game against Lafayette and will be out for the season.  

“It hurts because [Kevin] was a heck of a football player,” Hawks’ head coach Van Vanatta said. “We’re going to find out where we’re at this week.” 

Batt, who stands 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, was the staple of Central’s offense last season as a junior. He was on his way to another promising season before going down. Over the last two weeks, Batt rushed for a combined 347 yards and four touchdowns, an average of over 10 yards per carry.  

Despite the devastating blow, Vanatta will stay the course. Changing offensive philosophy isn’t in the fold.  

“Even without Kevin it’s 60 percent run, 40 percent pass,” Vanatta said. “It’s not going to change up what we do. We’re going to continue to move forward.” 

Senior Jordan Moody, who transferred from Francis Howell North, will replace Batt in the backfield. Moody has 20 carries for 160 yards to his credit this season. Vanatta is more than confident Moody can get the job done.  

“He knows the playbook,” Vanatta said. “We’re really not missing a beat. It’s just going to be can we continue to keep doing the other things we do and keep our production up right now.” 

Central, perhaps one of the most dangerous offenses in the state, utilizes its other weapons by spreading the ball all over the field.  

Senior quarterback Mike Glass has thrown four touchdowns and rushed for two. Receivers Xavier Sneed, Jordan Croft and Dominique Johnson are also capable of making big plays.  

By the same token, this bout will be no cakewalk for the Hawks. The Wildcats are poised, physical and downright tough to play against.  

Headed by their 11 senior starters on defense, the Wildcats get after the quarterback and fly to the ball. They held Oakville to less than 100 total offensive yards last week.  

Senior quarterback Brett Geisz is hard to bring down. He extends plays and has good speed when he decides to tuck it and run. Geisz threw four touchdowns last week and rushed for 59 yards. Receivers Bobby Saunders and Cam Nesbet always seem to shake off defenders and create space in the open field.  

“They’re a good football team all the way around,” Vanatta said of this week’s opponent. “They fly to the football defensively … they tackle well. They’ve got a spread offense … they’re wide open. They’re very good at attacking defenses, hitting you where you’re not.”  

Eureka High School will be packed come kickoff, which is scheduled for 7 p.m.  Click here for all the action … 

Vanatta said it will be a fight to the final whistle.  

“It’s a fun place to play,” he said. “They’re gonna have a huge crowd, home opener. They’re capable of hurting you. It’s going to be a hard-nosed battle. It’s going to be the team that makes the least mistakes [that wins].”

 

 

 

Eureka goes 2-0, Moves up in the Top 10

Tyler PosloskyOn the heels of an ugly showing against Lafayette last week, the Eureka offense exploded, the defense was unbreakable, and the visitors coasted to a 46-6 victory against Oakville Friday night.

The Oakville Tigers were revved up for their Senior Night, an early-season tradition for the black and gold. However, the celebration was spoiled by a stout effort from the Eureka Wildcats’ senior-led defense, which proved too much for the Tigers to handle.

“We knew offensively they had some firepower,” Eureka head coach Farrell Shelton said following his team’s second consecutive road victory. “They’ve got some athletes we don’t have on defense. I was just glad the way our defense was able to play in the first half.”

At halftime the Wildcats enjoyed a 35-0 lead. The Wildcats were pressing the gas. The Tigers were on empty.

The stingy defensive effort from the Wildcats was perhaps overshadowed by the pure dominance provided by the offense.

Senior quarterback Brett Geisz threw for 141 yards and four touchdowns, including a three-yard strike to Bobby Saunders on the opening drive of the game to begin the route.

After three consecutive punts, senior running back Stephen Erutti set the Wildcats up with a first-and-goal on a nifty run before Geisz tossed his second touchdown pass of the game, this time a five-yard flip to senior tight end Liam Mannecke.

The Wildcats would not be stopped.

Geisz connected with Cam Nesbitt for another score, the first of two touchdown catches for the 6-foot-4 receiver.

Shelton wasn’t surprised with Geisz’s final stat line, which was noted as one of the area’s top performances for Week 2.

“Brett’s Brett,” Shelton said. “You don’t think he has anything and you look up and three or four touchdowns.”

When the final horn sounded, Shelton was more than pleased with his team.

“[I’m] very proud of that senior defense,” he said. “We’re starting 11 seniors on that defense over there, and those guys take a lot of pride in their senior leadership.”

Click here for the replay …

The Rockwood Sports Network Starts with a Bang

Tyler PosloskyWith 22 seconds remaining in the game, the Eureka defense denied Lafayette of a game-tying two-point conversion, and the Wildcats triumphed 17-15 Friday night in front of a jam-packed crowd at Lafayette High School.

Both offenses struggled in the early stages of the tilt, failing to find any rhythm, much less consistency.

The Lancers struck first thanks to bad snap on a late-first quarter punt attempt by Eureka.

On fourth and long from inside their own 40 yard line, Eureka deep snapper Mason Brooks fired a high snap that sailed over the head of punter Bo Highful.

Lafayette recovered, and moments later Cameron Scales threw his first touchdown pass of the season. The extra-point attempt was no good, but the Lancers had a 6-0 lead.

Eureka answered the bell on its next possession when Brett Geisz connected with Bobby Saunders for a long touchdown, giving the visitors a 7-6 lead.

Highful extended the Wildcats’ lead to 10-6 with a 44-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Geisz extended the lead with a two-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to make it a 17-6 game.

The Lancers rallied with a 35-yard field goal from Jake Reynolds, then drove the length of the field in the final two minutes to make it a two-point game.

But the Wildcats stuffed Scales’ from the 2-yard line in the waning seconds to seal the victory.

Both teams combined for 20 penalties for nearly 200 yards. Eureka was penalized 12 times for 140 yards in a game that lasted over three hours.  Check out the replay …

Eureka plays at Oakville next Friday. The Tigers play at Parkway South Saturday. Lafayette (0-1) takes on Hazelwood Central next Saturday.