(Author’s note: We will be live streaming the Eureka and Cherryvale Volleyball team at Fredonia Sub-State on Saturday. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to catch volleyball sub-state action.)
EUREKA – The Eureka Tornadoes led the Cherryvale Chargers 31-28 early in the 4th quarter after trailing 28-0 in the 2nd quarter, but a pair of Zaine Lantz touchdown runs down the stretch put the Cherryvale Chargers in the win column and in the playoffs on Friday night.
“(I) thought our kids came ready to play. We let them back in it, but our kids responded and beat the district champs on their home field. Zaine (Lantz) had a big night for us,” said Cherryvale Chargers head coach Harry Hester.
Cherryvale ran 66 offensive plays to Eureka’s 50, outgaining the Tornadoes on offense 437 to 354. Zaine Lantz rushed for 104 yards on the ground on 11 carries with 3 touchdowns while hauling in 5 receptions for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns. Charger quarterback Gavin hooper went 14-of-25 with 231 yards passing, 2 touchdowns and an interception.
The Chargers jumped out to a 28-0 lead thanks to a balanced offensive attack led by Gavin Hooper to Zaine Lantz on a 74-yard pass to start the game followed by a Lantz 17 yard rushing touchdown as well as a Devin Sawyer 5 yard scamper into the endzone. Gavin Hooper connected with Lantz in the second quarter on a 24-yard pass to take a commanding 28-0 lead.
Eureka scored on a Cade Larcom 70 yard pass play to Zach Hare to put points up on the board before halftime, trailing 28-7.
The 3rd quarter was all Eureka. Larcom connected with Hare again in the 3rd on an 8-yard touchdown pass. Brent Escareno scored on a 68-yard touchdown run followed by another big pass play from Larcom to Hare, this time for 67 yards. By the time the buzzer sounded at the end of the 3rd quarter Eureka found themselves down 28-25.
Eureka continued their momentum with a 14-yard touchdown run from Brennan Lowe. Despite the failed 2-point conversion, the Tornadoes took the lead, erasing a 28 point deficit, 31-28.
Cherryvale leaned on Zaine Lantz down the stretch to secure the win, with a 51-yard touchdown run to put the Chargers back up on top and a 7-yard touchdown run to finish the game.
Eureka’s Cade Larcom finished the night 11-of-22 with 216 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. Escareno led his team with 115 yards rushing along with a touchdown.
Cherryvale improves to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the Tri-Valley League. The win clinches a spot in the Class 2A playoffs for the Chargers, who will travel to Conway Springs on Friday night in the opening round.
Eureka, who already clinched the district title, is now 5-3 overall and 3-3 in the Tri-Valley League. The Tornado will host Hutchinson Trinity Catholic in their new facility for the 1st round of the Class 2A Football Playoffs.