For Immediate Release
Football -- Nov. 11, 2011
Eureka/St. Scholastica Game Notes
SETTING THE STAGE
The Eureka College football team will bring its 2011 season to a close on Saturday when the Red Devils host the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference regular season champion St. Scholastica Saints at noon at Pete FioRito Stadium at McKinzie Field.
Eureka will host its annual Senior Day ceremony prior to kickoff, honoring six student-athletes playing their final collegiate football game. Saturday’s contest marks Eureka’s first home game since Oct. 22 and just the fourth home game all season.
Eureka’s losing streak reached four games last Saturday after a 40-21 UMAC loss at MacMurray in Jacksonville, Ill. The loss, Eureka’s third consecutive away from McKinzie Field, dropped the Red Devils to 4-5 on the season and evened their UMAC record at 4-4.
The Red Devils enter Saturday’s season finale with the league’s best passing offense at 300.3 yards per game. Eureka also leads the UMAC with a punting average of 34.8 yard per kick. Both averages rank among the top-50 in Division III.
ABOUT ST. SCHOLASTICA
In only its fourth season of existence on the gridiron, St. Scholastica carries a perfect 9-0 record into Saturday’s game against the Red Devils. The Saints, picked second in the UMAC preseason coaches’ poll, have won 13 consecutive games dating back to last season.
The Saints clinched the outright UMAC regular season title with a 66-10 drubbing of Martin Luther last weekend. They secured the UMAC’s first automatic bid to the NCAA Division III national playoffs with a 70-20 victory over Presentation on Oct. 29.
The Saints lead the UMAC in eight different team statistical categories, including scoring offense (45.3), scoring defense (15.8) and turnover margin (+22). Senior quarterback Alex Thiry has been the UMAC’s most effective passer this season, completing 75.3 percent of his passes for 2,350 yards, 33 touchdowns and a league-best pass efficiency of 238.9.
The College of St. Scholastica was founded in 1912 in Duluth, Minn. As of last year, CSS has a total enrollment of nearly 3,900 students.
THE HEAD COACHES
Eureka College athletics Hall of Famer Kurt Barth is currently in his third season as the head coach of the Red Devils in 2011.
Since being hired as the 12th head coach in program history in December 2008, Barth has rejuvenated the EC football program and installed one of the most prolific passing offenses in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference and all of NCAA Division III.
Barth is 1-1 all-time against St. Scholastica and 3-2 when hosting a UMAC foe traveling from Minnesota.
A veteran head coach among the NCAA Division III ranks, Greg Carlson is in his fourth season directing St. Scholastica. Carlson has been the only head coach in St. Scholastica football history.
Carlson won 112 games in 18 seasons as head coach at traditional Division III power Wabash (Ind.) from 1983 until 2000, leading the Little Giants to four league titles.
His coaching resume includes stops at Ball State (Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator), Illinois (Director of Football Operations), Evansville (Defensive Coordinator), Whittier (Calif.) and Metairie Park Country Day School in New Orleans (Head Coach).
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
The Red Devils and Saints will square off for the third time on Saturday. The two squads have split their first two meetings since Eureka joined the UMAC as an associate member prior to the 2009 season.
Eureka used a 14-point third-quarter rally to come from behind for a 21-20 victory over the Saints at Dome Day in the first all-time meeting on Oct. 30, 2009. A 16-yard touchdown throw from Nick Lindsey to Wes Schmidgall with 8:01 remaining in the third quarter proved to be the game-winning score.
Last season in Eureka’s first-ever trip to Duluth, St. Scholastica forced seven Eureka turnovers and scored 28 unanswered points to overcome a two-possession deficit in the first half and earn a 38-21 victory at Malosky Stadium on Sept. 11, 2010.
SENIOR DAY 2011
With Saturday marking Eureka’s final home game, six seniors playing their last collegiate football game will be recognized prior to kickoff.
Cornerback Rosney Beverly, offensive lineman Kolton Hammond, tight end Alex Hess, free safety Mike Minehan, wide receiver Cody Myers and wide receiver Wes Schmidgall -- all starters -- represent Eureka’s senior class. Only Beverly and Hammond are four-year players for the Red Devils.
EUREKA ON SENIOR DAY
Senior Day hasn’t been kind to Eureka since the turn of the century. Last season’s 42-21 victory over MacMurray on Nov. 13 snapped a nine-game losing streak in home finales dating back to a 51-0 defeat against Lakeland on Nov. 4, 2000.
A win on Saturday against St. Scholastica would give the Red Devils consecutive victories on Senior Day for the first time since Eureka four in a row from 1993 through 1996.
Saturday’s game marks an unusual occasion for St. Scholastica. The road trip from Duluth to Eureka -- at more than eight hours and 500 miles -- marks just the third time the Saints have traveled to the state of Illinois for a football game.
St. Scholastica lost its first game in Illinois last season, a 49-7 decision against Northern Athletics Conference member Concordia (Ill.) on Sept. 18, 2010 in River Forest, Ill. The Saints won their other trip to the Land of Lincoln earlier this season, a 30-26 victory over Greenville on Sept. 17. The trip to Greenville earlier this season proved to be the longest in CSS football history.
While Eureka has taken three trips to Minnesota and an additional trip to Aberdeen, S.D. in 2011, the Saints will be making just their third road trip outside their home state of Minnesota on Saturday.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
For many Eureka fans, Saturday’s contest marks the first look at UMAC champion St. Scholastica. St. Scholastica will play at McKinzie Field for the first time on Saturday, making the Saints the eighth UMAC team to play a game in Woodford County. First-year program Presentation is the only UMAC member to have not traveled to Eureka.
GOING OUT WITH A BANG
With Saturday’s game being Eureka’s final contest of the 2011 season, many players are close to single-season and career milestones. Here’s a rundown:
Junior quarterback Sam Durley needs 300 yards passing on Saturday to reach 3,000 for the season. He eclipsed 5,000 passing yards for his career last Saturday at MacMurray. He needs at least 96 more yards of total offense than Greenville’s Brendan Chambers to finish the season as the UMAC leader.
Senior Wes Schimdgall needs 65 yards receiving on Saturday to set a new single-season career-best. His 1,247 receiving yards as a sophomore in 2009 were the most by a Red Devil since current head coach Kurt Barth recorded 1,337 receiving yards in 1995. Schimdgall can match that mark with 154 receiving yards on Saturday. He has reached that mark three times this season. He is also 11 catches away from 200 for his collegiate career.
Sophomore running back Corey Dawson needs 185 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for his career. His single-game personal-best is 119, set Oct. 8, 2011 at Martin Luther.
Senior tight end Alex Hess needs three receptions to reach 100 catches for his three-year career.
Eureka College seniors Alex Hess, Mike Minehan and Wes Schmidgall have each been selected to the D3PRODAY.com Preseason All-America Third Team, according to an announcement from the website in late August.
D3PRODAY.com is the nation’s first and only Division III Pro Day and Combine for seniors after the regular season. D3PRODAY.com Preseason All-Americans represent the board’s best seniors in Division III. The selection board is made up of pro scouts, NFL and CFL agents and former NFL coaches and players.
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