By Ray Hamill — For Eureka, it all begins in the trenches.
Through the opening three games, all wins, the Loggers have featured a dynamic offense that has outscored three (quality) opponents 124-33, and have utilized a stable of 15 different running backs and 10 different receivers.
While on the defensive side of the ball, Eureka has dominated teams with its big-play capability and many different schemes, holding opponents to just 11 points a game.
But it all begins in the trenches, where the Loggers feature a group of veteran linemen providing the foundation for their success on both sides of the ball.
On the offensive side of things, 2017 lineman of the year Isaak Gutierrez starts alongside fellow seniors John Foster and Lari Racines, as well as juniors Miles Meynell and Drew Jensen.
Jensen has stepped into the starting lineup this year and has done an excellent job fitting right in, while Meynell is having an MVP type campaign.
“He’s playing extremely well right now,” head coach Jason White said of Meynell, a second-year starter. “He’s a smart kid, and a tremendous leader, as a junior.”
On the defensive side of things, the Loggers tend to change things up a little more along the line, with a rotation of seven different players, including starters Gutierrez, Meynell and sophomore Chase Steubing.
That’s a testament to the Loggers’ squad depth and also keeps players fresher as the game wears on — especially the two-way players.
“I think that gives us an advantage,” White said. “It’s keeps us fresh, and that’s a big deal.”
Steubing has been one of the most pleasant surprises for Eureka this season, although he’s been a top prospect for the past couple of years.
The value of hard work
It was a productive week of practice for the Loggers in preparation for Friday’s game with Foothill, but then again, according to White, it always is.
“We really don’t have bad practices,” the head coach said. “For us, the value of hard work is the core of our program, and that’s something we preach constantly.”
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It’s a mantra that appears to be rubbing off on the players, who collectively have displayed a maturity when it comes to getting the best out of themselves.
A sloppy outing early on against Ukiah resulted in way too many penalties and mistakes from the players, who took it upon themselves to correct things.
“It’s how they have responded to the lessons we want them to learn,” White said. “They responded very quickly to that, and they wanted to make that better themselves.”
Montana continues to impress
Statistically, senior QB Cruz Montana has now completed 33-of-52 for 713 yards, six TDs and zero interceptions, while on the ground, Alex Miller has a team-high 224 yards on 32 carries for a 7.0 average, and Robert Weir has 181 yards on 20 carries.
Receiving wise, Isley Tulmau (131 yards) and Josiah Graham (69 yards) each have a team-high seven receptions, while tight end Tyce Mullins has three catches for 158 yards and Tony Barreno six catches for a team-high 206 yards, including a pair of TD receptions a week ago.
Defensively, Mullins has been a tackling machine for the Loggers, with a team-high 23 solo and 32 total, including an impressive seven for a loss, while Hunter Ethridge continues to impress with 25 total tackles including three for a loss.
Zander Young leads the team with three sacks.
Tulmau and Zach Anderson each have three picks.
Foothill travels to Eureka
The Loggers will welcome Foothill (1-1) to Albee Stadium on Friday night, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.
Last week the Cougars defeated Carson 41-7.
“We anticipate a tough, physical football game,” White said.