For Immediate Release
Sept. 4, 2010
Eureka Drops Opener to Benedictine, 42-7
EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College senior wide receiver Keifer McComas (Allerton, Ill./Heritage H.S.) snagged a 30-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jordan Krone (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest H.S./Greenville) midway through the second quarter for his first career touchdown, but former Illini-Badger Football Conference rival Benedictine compiled 340 yards through the air to earn a 42-7 season-opening victory over the Red Devils, Saturday afternoon at McKinzie Field.
The Red Devils started the game with a solid offensive series, taking 14 plays to move the ball all the way down to the Eagles’ 5-yard line, but Benedictine senior defensive back Tim Shanahan intercepted a tipped pass from Eureka sophomore quarterback Sam Durley (Roanoke, Ill./Roanoke-Benson H.S.) inside the end zone and returned the ball all the way back to the Benedictine 17-yard line to end the Eureka threat.
Benedictine scored on the ensuing possession, but not before the Eureka defense nearly came away with an improbable stand at the goal line. After Benedictine sophomore John Borsellino gave the Eagles a first down at the Eureka 1-yard line, the Red Devils stuffed three consecutive interior run plays before senior fullback Eric Ritter squeezed into the end zone on fourth-and-goal to give the Eagles a 7-0 advantage. Benedictine made it 14-0 four possessions later on a 37-yard touchdown throw from Preston Earl to Brandin Austin with 12:27 left in the second quarter.
Krone’s strike to McComas was Eureka’s only scoring play of the day. Trailing 14-0, Eureka junior strong safety Mike Minehan (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./McKendree) intercepted Benedictine quarterback Earl and returned the pick 17 yards to the Benedictine 30-yard line. Following an incompletion and a run for no gain, Krone found McComas with a lob near the corner of the end zone for a touchdown with 7:20 left in the second quarter, bringing the Red Devils within a possession at 14-7.
The Eagles and Red Devils traded possessions over the next several minutes before Earl found Mike Trombetta with a 50-yard touchdown throw with 1:42 left before intermission for a 21-7 lead. Despite Benedictine’s ensuing kickoff rolling out of bounds, the Red Devils couldn’t close the gap any further and entered halftime trailing 21-7.
The Eureka defense forced a three-and-out to begin the second half, but the ensuing offensive set was cut short at the Benedictine 41-yard line when Durley’s pass was intercepted by Gabe McMillan. The Eagles stretched their lead to three scores just seven plays later when junior quarterback Matt Brown found Ritter in the flat for a 14-yard touchdown throw and 28-7 lead.
Trombetta made his second touchdown catch later in the quarter and sophomore running back John Alessi made it 42-7 with a 5-yard run to cap a 16-play, 60-yard touchdown drive that chewed 6-minutes, 51-seconds off the clock midway through the fourth quarter. Eureka made its way into Benedictine territory four times during the second half, but an interception, turnover on downs, punt and end of regulation stifled each of the trips.
Offensively, McComas made a team-high five catches for 78 yards, while junior Alex Hess (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) led a group of seven Eureka running backs with 22 yards on five carries. Making his first career start, Durley completed a career-high 10 passes for 103 yards, while Krone was 3-for-8 for 43 yards and his touchdown throw to McComas.
Minehan played an outstanding game for the Red Devils, leading all players with 13 total tackles. He matched Shanahan for game-high honors with five solo stops and also returned six kickoffs for 120 yards. Eureka sophomore cornerback Charles Turner (Normal, Ill./Normal Community H.S.) recorded an interception early in the second quarter and six total tackles in his first game as a Red Devil. Freshman Jacob Carls (El Paso, Ill./El Paso-Gridley H.S.) recorded 12 tackles in his collegiate debut, while sophomore defensive end Seth Zehr (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S.) made seven stops.
Earl and Brown combined to go 16-for-25 for 340 yards for the Eagles, while Trombetta snagged six balls for a game-high 211 yards and two scores. Austin also made six catches for 94 yards. Borsellino led all players with 67 rushing yards on 17 carries.
The Red Devils will hit the road for their next two games, starting with a lengthy trip to Duluth, Minn. to play St. Scholastica at 4 p.m. on Sept. 11. Eureka rallied for a 21-20 victory over the Saints last season at the UMAC’s 10th annual Dome Day in the Metrodome on Oct. 30, the first all-time meeting between the two schools. The 514-mile trip marks Eureka’s longest football road trip since a 2008 visit to LaGrange (Ga.).
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