Eureka Comes Up Short at Benedictine, 17-14

File photo courtesy of Taylor Malik.
File photo courtesy of Taylor Malik.

LISLE, Ill. — On a drenched field in the pouring rain, the Eureka football team grinded its way to the end on Saturday.

But the Red Devils ultimately came up short in a 17-14 loss at Benedictine.

Eureka tied the game at 14-14 in the fourth quarter on a three-yard toss from Drew Barth (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest) to Wesley Burris (Monmouth, Ill./Monmouth-Roseville) with 4:25 left in the game.

However, Benedictine turned around and drove 64 yards in seven plays before settling for a go-ahead field goal just outside the end zone with 1:42 remaining.

Eureka's attempt to deliver a response on the next possession didn't materialize, resulting in another narrow loss for the Red Devils.

With the passing game a suboptimal option due to the weather, both teams relied on the run.

EC running back Joe Hughes (Normal, Ill./University) amassed 171 rushing yards and one touchdown on 34 carries, while his counterpart, Joshua Williams of Benedictine, tallied 190 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.

Both teams finished with under 300 total yards, with EC notching 287 and Benedictine finishing with 273.  

Barth threw for 71 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 11-of-17 passing, and added 35 yards on the ground. Benedictine's Tyler Jarnagin went 3-for-8 for 46 yards.

Benedictine struck first on Saturday, with Williams scoring on a 9-yard rush to compete an 11-play, 70-yard drive on the Eagles' first possession of the game.

The home team nearly made it a two-score game early in the second quarter, except EC's Julius Peyton (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) stripped Williams on the 1 and Daetayvian Woodson (Sherman, Ill./Williamsville) recovered for the Red Devils.

EC's ensuing drive stalled out at midfield, but after Tanner Kuhne's (Princeton, Ill./Princeton) punt pinned the Eagles at the 1, EC's defense got a stop and EC got the ball back in good field position.

After an eight-play, 54-yard drive, Hughes rushed three yards for the Red Devils' first touchdown with 24 seconds left in the first half.

The score was tied at 7-7 at halftime, and it stayed that way until Williams punched in another score with 12:28 left in the fourth quarter.

EC responded that time, marching 59 yards in 13 plays as puddles accumulated all over the field. The Burris touchdown ended up being the last time Eureka would move the score.

Alexander Brittain (Eureka, Ill./Eureka) led the Red Devils in tackles for the second week in a row with seven total. Woodson followed with five, while four others had four.

Three Eagles reached double-digit tackles for the Eagles: John Bryles (12), Scottie Bobeck (11) and Braxton White (11).

Next Saturday, the Red Devils (3-4, 1-3 NACC) come home again to take on Lakeland (4-3, 3-1 NACC) at McKinizie Field. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.