Red Devils Extend Home Win Streak to 12, Top MacMurray 41-24

Photo courtesy of Kenny Chapman
Photo courtesy of Kenny Chapman

EUREKA — These days, fans at Eureka College know what they're in for when they visit McKinzie Field: Evenings full of lively football, a raucous stadium atmosphere and postgame celebrations galore.

The Eureka football team racked up 40 points for the second straight week and extended its home win streak to 12 games with a 41-24 victory over MacMurray on Saturday.

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The Red Devils haven't lost on their home turf since Sept. 2, 2017. That's 742 days.

On Saturday, EC tallied 458 yards of total offense to MacMurray's 411 and reached the end zone six times.

A week after a historic season opener that included 357 yards and five touchdowns, EC quarterback Drew Barth (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest) completed 20-of-30 passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns.

Unlike like last week, when the Red Devils ripped off big play after big play, the home team primarily relied on small to mid-sized gains, averaging 6.9 yards per play on the night.

This time around, the EC was able to establish and sustain its running game.

Freshman Sam Walter (Washington, Ill./Washington) showed off the Red Devils' depth in the backfield, leading all EC rushers with 97 yards and the first touchdown of his career on 14 carries. Senior Grant Jochums (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest) followed with 72 rushing yards on 19 attempts.

Barth connected with five EC players in the open field and tossed touchdown receptions to four, with James Douglas III (Orlando, Fla./Deltona) leading the way at 111 yards.

Douglas put the Red Devils on the board in the first quarter after Barth hit him on the right side of the field and the speedy senior read his blockers, working his way back to the left and weaving to a 33-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.  

EC sophomore safety Nehemiah Butler (Elmwood, Ill./Elmwood) made his second interception of the season on the next MacMurray drive, and the Red Devils strung together a 16-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a one-yard Jochums touchdown.

Trailing by 14 points, the Highlanders found the end zone twice in the second quarter. However, so did the Red Devils.

After MacMurray quarterback Bobby Tedesco went over the top to Demetrius Curry for a 53-yard score, EC answered with a 29-yard touchdown run by Walter to make 2-17 with 7:40 left in the half.

Tedesco would hit Curry again on a 30-yard touchdown reception that made it a seven-point lead, but a couple drives later, EC pieced together another efficient drive, going 62-yards in eight plays.

This one ended with Barth finding fullback Wesley Burris (Monmouth, Ill./Monmouth-Roseville) for a five-yard that made it a two-score game at 28-14 with less than a minute until half.

Freshman Alexander Brittain (Eureka, Ill./Eureka) ended MacMurray's hopes of responding by sacking Tedesco to end the half.

It was his second sack of the night. The Red Devils defense would finish with six sacks and two interceptions.

Bryson Smith (Cisco, Ill./Monticello) posted two sacks, Jon Jackson (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) and Kaleb Merritt (Eureka, Ill./Eureka) each had one, and Butler and Matt Sutton (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap) both recorded picks.

Butler also had two pass breakups and led the Red Devils with six tackles. Brittain and Austin McCarty (Oakwood, Ill./Oakwood)) both notched four tackles.

In the second half, Barth threw two more touchdowns to its largest lead of the night at 27 points.

The first was a 13-yard, third-quarter touchdown reception by Caleb Fauver (Catlin, Ill./Salt Fork), who finished with four receptions for 50 yards and one score.

The second was a 20-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown reception by Pierce Bradford (Decatur, Ill./Argenta-Oreana)

The Highlanders blocked the extra point attempt and Jacquese Goins ran it back for a defensive PAT, and scored again in the fourth, but the lead was too steep to make it competitive by then.

Senior kicker Tanner Kuhne (Princeton, Ill./Princeton) went 5-for-6 on extra points and became the Red Devils' all-time leader in extra points in the first quarter when he surpassed Travis Huber's previous program best of 108. He now has 112 with at least eight games remaining in his final season as a Red Devil.