UNION CITY - Now that's how you close out a Region 2 championship.
Eisenhower scored four touchdowns in a span of just under four minutes - all in between Union City offensive possessions - and earned at least a share of a Region 2 championship with a 55-0 thrashing of Union City Friday at Union City Area High School.
Eisenhower (6-2, 6-0 Region 2) matched the school record for points in a game with 55 and led 42-0 at halftime. The Region 2 title is the second straight for the county following Youngsville's title win in 2011. Perhaps most impressively, the win punctuates a turnaround for a program that finished a dismal 0-10 just two seasons ago.
"There are a lot of the same kids on this roster that were on that roster," said Eisenhower coach Jim Penley. "All these guys were put through the fire that year. When you go 0-10, one of two things can happen. It can crush your program or bring it together. Our staff and these players have come together over the past two years and I've never been more proud of a group of guys.
"They are just one of the funnest group of guys I've ever coached," added Penley. "They just want to win and that's what they continue to do."
Eisenhower senior 1,000-yard rusher John Pascuzzi was a sophomore on that winless 2010 club. Two years later, he stood on the grass surface of Union City High School in awe at the fact he could call himself and his teammates, region champions.
"It's an amazing accomplishment," said Pascuzzi. "I can't even believe that we were 0-10 just two years ago. We put the work in and made a commitment to improve and it feels really great to be where we are today."
On Friday, the Knights fumbled on the opening possession of the game. The defense responded by forcing a three and out, giving Eisenhower the ball back for the second time in the contest.
What followed was one of the most memorable sequences in the program's history.
First, a 36-yard run by Carter Farrell set up a four-yard touchdown run by Trevor Spicer. Nathan O'Brien's extra point made it 7-0 Knights.
On the ensuing kick off, O'Brien executed a short kick and the Knights recovered, giving themselves a second straight turn with the ball. With 3:12 remaining in the first quarter, John Pascuzzi rumbled into the end zone from nine yards out and the Knights led 14-0.
Another short kickoff by the Knights was attempted after Pascuzzi's score and incredibly the Knights recovered yet again to set up a third straight turn with the ball. On the first play of that drive, quarterback Aaron Lundmark connected with O'Brien for a 32-yard touchdown strike that made it 21-0.
After recovering two straight short kicks, Penley decided to go to the well once more after the Lundmark touchdown pass and the Knights again recovered a short kickoff that was mishandled by the Bears.
The third straight kickoff recovery set up Robbie Wilston's 11-yard touchdown run to give Eisenhower a 28-0 advantage after a quarter.
The Knights' onslaught continued in the second quarter with the visitors chipping in two additional touchdowns. Lundmark and O'Brien connected on another touchdown pass - this one covering 30 yards - and Alex Johnson hit paydirt from six yards out to give Ike a dominating 42-0 lead at intermission.
To continue with the trend of the game, Ike recovered a short kickoff to start the second half and promptly added a seventh touchdown on the night. This time, Cody Catrell scored from four yards out - the fifth different Knight to score a rushing touchdown in the game.
With 5:46 left in the fourth quarter, Bryce Garris became the sixth different Knight to score on the ground, rushing in from two yards out. The touchdown came just one play after Chris Sanders recovered a Union City fumble at the Bears' 2.
Lundmark completed just two passes on the night - both touchdown strikes to O'Brien. Pascuzzi led the ground game with 56 yards and Farrell finished with 55 yards. Jake Johnson and Alex Johnson each intercepted Union City's Brody Mangol.
The Knights will try to wrap up an outright Region 2 title during Friday's Backyard Brawl with Youngsville (1-7) at Eisenhower High School.
Eisenhower-Union City Stats
Union City0000- 0
E- Trevor Spicer 4 run, 5:43, Nathan O'Brien kick
E- John Pascuzzi 9 run, 3:12, O'Brien kick
E- Nathan O'Brien 32 pass from Aaron Lundmark, 2:59, O'Brien kick
E- Robbie Wilston 11 run, 1:45, O'Brien kick
E- O'Brien 30 pass from Lundmark, 10:02, O'Brien kick
E- Alex Johnson 6 run, 4:20, O'Brien kick
E- Cody Catrell 4 run, 8:42, O'Brien kick
E- Bryce Garris 2 run, 5:46, kick failed
RUSHING: E- Drew Myer 3 for 3, John Pascuzzi 10 for 56, TD, Alex Johnson 7 for 49, TD, Trevor Spicer 4 for 34, TD, Aaron Lundmark 1 for 15, Robbie Wilston 3 for 30, TD, Carter Farrell 2 for 55, Bryce Garris 7 for 23, TD, Coty Catrell 1 for 4, TD, Louie Head 4 for 7, Logan Bellardo 1 for 17, Marcus Hert 1 for 0; U- Josh Reinke 6 for 1, Brody Mangel 15 for 27, Austin Kinney 5 for 13, Brett Reynolds 4 for 4, Austin Bailes 4 for 23
PASSING: E- Lundmark 2 of 7 for 62, 2 TD; U- Mangol 1 of 4 for 12, 2 INT
RECEIVING: E-Nathan O'Brien 2 for 62, 2 TD; U- Reinke 1 for 12