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Eureka Lions hungry for first state title since 2019 after 5-0 start

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Posted at 5:44 PM, Sep 27, 2023

EUREKA — The Eureka Lions remain one of the only undefeated Class B football teams after starting the 2023 season 5-0, thanks to both a high-powered offense averaging 43 points per game and a lock-down defense that's already pitched three shutouts.

"We're definitely looking to keep the streak going, keep winning," said senior left guard Riley Hume. "There'll be some good games and it'll be a grind, but we're looking just to keep it going, keep winning."

One of 14 seniors on the team, Hume knows this year carries more weight than any prior season.

"It means a lot as a team. We're really pushing just to keep getting better each week," he said. "I mean, we're going for that state championship, that's the goal for sure."

Fellow senior Tristan Butts, who leads the team with six total touchdowns, attributes the team’s approach to the mental side of the game as the determining factor of their hot start.

"I think it's just a mentality of like, 'No one's going to make the mistake,'" said Butts. "So everyone's just stepping up and doing their part on offense and defense, getting it done."

Butts also credits the Lions' success to the longevity of their playing time together as a group.

"We've all been playing together since we were in fifth grade, and we all grew up watching football together," said the wide receiver. "So, it's kind of just closer I guess. All my best friends are out here, getting to play with them for one last season."

Head coach Trevor Utter, who is in his 12th year at the helm, has led the team to three state titles during his tenure, the last coming in 2019, and he says this is one of the most versatile teams he’s coached.

"We have a very, very balanced team and that is the key," said Utter. "You know, we talked about our offensive and defensive line, we feel like is as strong as any that we're going to face, and they're proving that day in and day out. Every game we go to, our offensive and defensive line is dominant."

Eureka has had a dominant start to the season, outscoring its opponents 215-19 through the its first five games.

"This isn't surprising right now in September that this is happening," said Utter. "This is something that the kids know that when June hits and we can start working with them, the weight room and the camps and the things that we do, we're seeing all of this happen starting then, the growth and who's going to be stepping into those jobs."

As for the standard held looking ahead to the second half of the season and playoffs.

"Everyone's expectation is a state championship," said Butts. "And anything short of that would be disappointing to this team."