Eisenhower opened the 2012 season with a 33-7 non-region loss at the hands of a tough Mercer team.
The Mustangs used a balanced rushing attack and the arm of quarterback Logan Clarke to put the Knights away.
"Mercer has a very good team. They do every year", said Eisenhower coach Jim Penley. "They would be a top-two team in our region."
Times Observer photo by Jon Sitler
Eisenhower lineman Eric Stein, left, and linebacker Gus Bauer (58) work to bring down a Mercer runner during the first half of their season opener on Friday at Eisenhower High School.
The Mustangs were able to score early on a two-yard run from running back Luke Leonard. A quick three-and-out gave Mercer back the ball and Leonard once again found the end zone on a 26-yard dash.
After another Mercer score to open the second quarter, the Knights finally got on the board on an Aaron Lundmark quarterback keeper from the three-yard line. It was the second time Eisenhower had driven down to the three-yard line. A fumble on the two-yard line gave Mercer back the ball.
That was the last time Knights fans would see their team score in the game.
The second half was all Mustangs as Zane O'Brien opened the scoring on an eight-yard run, and iced the game with a 15-yard run with just 37 seconds left on the clock.
O'Brien finished the game with 76 yards on 13 carries to lead all rushers.
The Knights were led on the ground by John Pascuzzi, who racked up 53 yards on 14 carries in addition to two receptions. Alex Johnson chipped in 29 yards on seven carries and Carter Farrell added 16 on 2 touches.
Eisenhower's next test will be a road trip to Maplewood, where the Knights will look for their first win of the season.
"There are some guys on this team who can step up and help us," said Penley. "We need to look at the tape and see who those guys are."
M - Luke Leonard 2-yard run, Chase Hoffman kick; 6:19.
M - Luke Leonard 26-yard run, Chase Hoffman kick; 3:59.
M-Logan Clarke 19-yard run, Chase Hoffman kick; 6:16.
E-Aaron Lundmark 3-yard run, Nathan O'Brien kick; 1:03.
M - Zane O'Brien 8-yard run, conversion failed, 4:56
M - Zane O'Brien 15-yard run, kick blocked; 0:37.
RUSHING-M-Zane O'Brien 13-76, Austin Slagle 5-61, Luke Leonard 7-54, Logan Clarke 17-47, Evan Nan 1-6, TJ Peters 1- -1, Levii Bequeath 1 - -2; E - John Pascuzzi 14-53, Alex Johnson 7-29, Carter Farrell 2-16, Bryce Garris 1-15, Rob Wilston 2-11, Aaron Lundmark 9- -5
PASSING-M-Logan Clarke 8/14-139; E - Aaron Lundmark 4/13-60
RECEIVING-M- Evan Nan 3-71, Austin Slagle 2-12, Luke Leonard 1-10, Vik Rymniak 1-20, Zane O'Brien 1-26; E-John Pascuzzi 2-33, Nathan O'Brien 1-26, Alex Johnson 1-1