Eureka defends state title in front of home fans
EUREKA, Mont. - The Eureka Lions repeated as state champions on Saturday with win at home over Shelby in the class B state title game. After winning the program's first ever state title last year on a last second hail mary, this year's championship was never in question as the Lions cruised to a 47-7 win over the Coyotes.
"I can't explain the feeling right now," said Eureka senior Brenton Pluid. "To repeat after last year and just step it up again this year... It's amazing. There's nothing better."
"We earned it you know," said senior Garrett Gollahon. "Being undefeated and going through the top-ranked teams in the bracket it feels so surreal."
Despite the dominant 40-point victory, the Lions still faced adversity. Star player and Montana Grizzlies commit Garrett Graves injured his leg during the first series of the game, but still played the entire contest at quarterback and safety.
"He said I think I broke my leg coach," explained Lions head coach Trevor Utter. "As he went a little bit further I think what he has is a really high ankle sprain. He hobbled the whole game, didn't sit out one play until the end when we took him out. So just a ton of heart and just a will to win."
"Nothing is going to take me out unless I can't walk," smiled Graves after the game. "My heart was bursting with love for those guys because they're just out there fighting for me I know. You can really tell how underrated my whole team is. Every single one of these guys are studs and they showed it today."
For the town of Eureka not only did they win a state title in their first time ever hosting one, but the community was given a reason to smile in what's been a tough year.
"People lost their homes in fires and we've had about five or six prominent community members, my dad being one of them, who passed away this fall," said Utter. "So to do this on our home field gives us a reason to celebrate and we needed it."
"We do everything for each other," added Gollahon. "If somebody gets a flat tire we're there to help them out. As a football player and as a Eureka Lion you're responsible for upholding the community and taking care of them."
"The whole town is painted orange and black, it's an awesome feeling to be here in Eureka," said Graves. "This field is special and secondly to have that support behind us."
This year's senior class put up quite the resume, which includes a second straight state title and a dominant 11-0 season in which the Lions won every game by at least 23 points.