John Pascuzzi keeps chewing up the yards.
Eisenhower keeps spitting out the wins.
Pascuzzi set a new school record with 337 rushing yards and the Knights tightened their stranglehold on the Region 2 standings with a 38-16 thrashing of the Cochranton Cardinals Friday at The Pasture of Pain.
Times Observer photo by Allen Seybert
Eisenhower’s John Pascuzzi breaks free for a number of his school record 337 rushing yards during the second half of Friday’s Region 2 football game with Cochranton at Eisenhower High School. One week after rushing 41 times for 250 yards in a 26-25 win over Mercyhurst Prep, Pascuzzi broke Brad Hartley’s record of 291 yards with 337 yards on 34 carries with three touchdowns in the Knights’ 38-16 win.
According to Ike head coach Jim Penley, Cochranton had made stopping Pascuzzi its primary goal entering the game.
It didn't work.
"I told Johnny that he needed to go out there and do his best to shut them up," said Penley. "It was an amazing performance and an awesome game to be a part of. Johnny ran his tail off and that line blocked amazingly. Every single guy on every single running play had a block. It was incredible to watch."
One week after rushing for 250 yards on 41 carries in a 26-25 victory over Mercyhurst Prep, Pascuzzi one-upped himself by rushing 34 times and breaking the school's single-game rushing record (Brad Hartley's 291 yards).
"I'm almost speechless. It's like a dream," said Pascuzzi. "It's kind of surreal that my name is going to be in that record book for a bit. Everything just came together tonight. The line was opening huge holes. Every guy up front did an incredible job."
Pascuzzi wasted little time in setting the tone for his record-breaking night.
The Knights took the opening kick off and needed just seven plays to take a 6-0 lead on Pascuzzi's first of three touchdowns on the night. Nathan O'Brien booted the first of his five extra points and the Knights led 7-0.
After Pascuzzi recovered a fumble to end the Cardinals' first drive, the offense went right to work on doubling the advantage. Aided by a roughing the passer call that negated an Aaron Lundmark interception, Pascuzzi rumbled into the end zone from 22 yards out and the hosts led 14-0.
The Knights defense came up big on Cochranton's next drive, stopping the Cardinals on a fourth and one at the Ike 38. However, Cochranton's defense soon came up with a big play of its own, intercepting another Lundmark pass.
The Cardinals offense snapped into gear in the second quarter and a long drive was capped off by Chad Eisenhooth's one-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal. Eisenhooth's pass to A.J. Nageotte was converted for the two points and the Knights led 14-8.
Eisenhower appeared to be on its way to answering the score later in the quarter, driving all the way to the Cochranton 10 before the Cardinals came up with an interception in the end zone for a touchback.
The game changed on the ensuing drive.
With just over two minutes left in the first half and facing a fourth and one at their own 29, the Cardinals elected to go for the first down. Eisenhooth's pass fell incomplete and the Knights got a gift with a fresh set of downs at the Cochranton 29 and just under two minutes left in the half.
The Knights ran the clock down and called a timeout with five seconds left to set up one last play from the 18. Lundmark scrambled out of pressure and found Alex Johnson in the front of the end zone for a momentum changing touchdown that gave the Knights a 21-8 cushion at halftime.
While neither team scored in the third quarter, the Knights maintained the momentum in the contest using Pascuzzi's legs and the line's surge to control the clock and hold the 13-point lead. That margin was extended early in the fourth when O'Brien's 29-yard field goal put the Knights on top, 24-8.
On Cochranton's next drive, O'Brien came up with a stellar defensive play, picking off a pass and setting up Ike's next touchdown drive.
The Knights took over with 9:53 left in the game and ran nearly six minutes off the clock before Johnson scored from 21 yards out with 4:05 remaining in the game.
Trailing 31-8, Cochranton had no choice but to go to the passing game and quickly scored to get within 31-16. The Cardinals went 66 yards in three plays and needed just 58 seconds to score on Eisenhooth's 15-yard pass to Garrett Adams. Eisenhooth and Adams also connected on the two-point conversion.
Cochranton's onside kick attempt failed, setting the Knights up with the ball at the Cardinals 43. Looking to run out the clock, Pascuzzi found daylight on his final carry of the game, rushing 27 yards for the score and completing the scoring at 38-16.
In addition to Pascuzzi's record night, Johnson rushed for 41 yards and a score and added 25 receiving yards and another touchdown. Lundmark was 5 of 10 for 55 yards and Robbie Wilston caught three passes for 30 yards.
The Knights (4-1, 4-0 Region 2) host their third straight game on Friday. The Cambridge Springs Blue Devils will visit the Knights in Ike's 2012 Homecoming game.
E- John Pascuzzi 1 run, 8:28, Nathan O'Brien kick
E- Pascuzzi 22 run, 2:32, O'Brien kick
C- Chad Eisenhooth 1 run, 7:20, A.J. Nageotte pass from Eisenhooth
E- Alex Johnson 18 pass from Aaron Lundmark, 0:00, O'Brien kick
E- O'Brien 29 field goal, 11:18
E- Johnson 21 run, 4:05, O'Brien kick
C- Garrett Adams 15 pass from Eisenhooth, 3:07, Adams pass from Eisenhooth
E- Pascuzzi 27 run, 1:07, O'Brien kick
RUSHING- C- Chad Eisenhooth 12 for 39, TD, Austin Andrews 7 for 17, Garrett Adams 1 for 8, Jesse Staudt 1 for 5; E - John Pascuzzi 34 for 337, 3 TD, Alex Johnson 10 for 41, TD, Trevor Spicer 2 for 9, Rob Wilston 2 for 5, Aaron Lundmark 2 for -9
PASSING- C - Chad Eisenhooth 13 of 19 for 158, TD, Austin Andrews 0 of 1 for 0, Shawn Woolstrum 0 of 1 for 0, INT; E - Aaron Lundmark 5 of 10 for 55, TD, 2 INT
RECEIVING- C- A.J. Nageotte 4 for 53, Garrett Adams 4 for 35, TD, Austin Andrews 2 for 41, Jesse Staudt 2 for 11, Nathan Wigton 1 for 18; E - Rob Wilston 3 for 30, Alex Johnson 2 for 25, TD