EUREKA — After an extended offseason, the next season of Eureka College football has finally been set.
The Red Devils will play five games in the spring of 2021, starting with a home opener against Aurora on March 20 at McKinzie Field.
Although the traditional NCAA Division III Playoffs and National Championships won't be held for this academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be an opportunity to compete for a conference title.
For the 2020-21 season, the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference has created a league structure that features two divisions, the North and South. For the first three weeks of the season, the Red Devils will play a round-robin divisional schedule against their fellow South division rivals, Aurora, Benedictine and Concordia Chicago.
In Week 4, the top two teams of each division will compete in a semifinal round to decide which teams will play for the conference crown in Week 5.
The remaining four teams will be scheduled to play each other in Week 4 and the six teams not competing in the championship game the following week will be scheduled to play a season finale, as well.
When Eureka hosts 2019 NACC champion Aurora on March 20, it will officially open EC's third season in the NACC and 117th of collegiate football overall, albeit under unusual circumstances.
The Red Devils started their modified fall practice schedule last week.
"We are excited for the opportunity to get back on the field and compete this spring," 12th-year head coach Kurt Barth said. "As always, it will be a tough and competitive schedule, but we are looking forward to March."
The winningest head coach in Eureka football history, Barth has been the architect of a program that has soared to new heights, including a return to the national postseason for the first time in nearly a quarter-century, back-to-back conference titles in 2017 and 2018 and an unprecedented renovation of McKinzie Field.
The Red Devils will go on the road to take on Benedictine on March 27 and will conclude divisional play at Concordia Chicago on April 3.
Weeks 4 and 5 will take place on April 10 and April 17, respectively. The times and locations are to be determined, but at least one of those contests will be a home game for EC.
All dates and times next season are subject to change.