Eureka Steamrolls Columbus to Advance in State Football Playoffs

Lions are 10-0, host undefeated Red Lodge in semifinals on Nov. 16

By Andy Viano
The Eureka Lions huddle during a practice in 2017. Beacon file photo

The rampaging Eureka Lions tore through Columbus 69-30 in the quarterfinal round of the Class B state football playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 9 to reach the state semifinals for the third time in the last four years.

Eureka (10-0) is just two years removed from the second of back-to-back state titles and this year’s Lions have roared through the first 10 games of their schedule, including a 65-24 blowout of Baker in the opening round of the playoffs. The eye-popping point totals in the first two playoff rounds are nothing new, either. The Lions have scored at least 32 points in every game this season, have an average margin of victory of 37 points and have won only once by fewer than 30 points (a 34-14 win at Florence on Oct. 4).

Through the first nine games of the year, senior quarterback Hank Dunn had 23 touchdowns (15 passing, eight rushing) and senior Chet McCully had 1,354 yards on the ground at a 9.7 yards-per-carry clip. Senior Jake Kindel has been a potent runner and receiver, with more than 1,000 yards of total offense and 15 combined touchdowns.

Next up for the Lions is a third straight home game, this time against Eastern B champion Red Lodge on Nov. 16 at 1 p.m.  All four top seeds have reached the semifinals, and all four teams — Eureka, Red Lodge, Fairfield and Manhattan — are undefeated this year.

If the Lions win on Nov. 16 they will have to hit the road for the state championship game, which will be played on Nov. 23. Fairfield won the Class B state title last season.

CORRECTION (Nov. 12, 2019): An earlier version of this article misidentified Eureka’s opponent in their quarterfinal game. The Beacon regrets the error.

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