The Region 2 champion Knights already knew how good Region 1 was.
They found out again on Friday, dropping a 36-6 contest to Lakeview in the District 10 Class A playoff quarterfinals at War Memorial Field in Warren. The Sailors, who finished the regular season with a 6-4 record, finished in fourth place in Region 1.
"We expected them to be physical, but we really hurt ourselves," said Eisenhower coach Jim Penley, whose Knights are eliminated with an 8-3 record. "You just can't turn the ball over in the playoffs - like we did."
Times Observer photo by Ben Oviatt
Lakeview’s Andrew Parinuha tries to stop Eisenhower’s John Pascuzzi during the District 10 Class A quarterfinal playoff matchup on Friday at War Memorial Field. Lakeview scored early and often in a 36-6 win to advance to next week’s semifinals. The Region 2 champion Knights finish 8-3.
Lakeview wasted no time jumping on the Knights, scoring first on a 19-yard run from quarterback Zach Bigley. Bigley would walk away with four of the Sailors' five touchdowns, three coming on the ground and one more through the air.
What was supposed to be Blake Reddick's night turned into Bigley's.
Bigley struck again on a 35-yard pass to wide receiver Brandon Rice, giving Lakeview a 16-0 lead going into the half.
Right before the half, Eisenhower drove down to the Lakeview six yard line, but fumbled -one of Eisenhower's five turnovers to Lakeview's one.
After forcing a turnover on downs following an Eisenhower onside kick, Bigley extended the Sailors' lead by breaking off a huge 72-yard run for a score before the Knights finally answered back.
A fumble recovery by Trevor Spicer set the stage for John Pascuzzi - Ike's all time leading rusher - to pound in a one-yard run to get the Knights on the board with 6:07 remaining in the third quarter.
That was the last score Eisenhower fans would see from their team. Lakeview found the end zone two more times to secure the win.
Reddick led all rushers with 158 yards on 28 carries. Bigley racked up 151 yards on just six carries to go along with 88 passing yards and four total touchdowns.
For the Knights offensively, Aaron Lundmark completed five of 16 passes for 98 yards, and had two interceptions. Alex Johnson led the ground game with 49 yards on five carries. Pascuzzi finishes just a handful of yards short of Steve Witte's single-season rushing record.
Despite the disappointment, Penley is optimistic about the future - with the Knights having gone from 0-10 two seasons ago to region champs.
"We're returning 14 of 22 starters next year," said Penley. "We have a good junior class and a solid group of sophomores. We have a very athletic freshman class - three or four of those guys could be starters next year.
"My hope is that (the seniors) left a great mark," he said. "If this game is something that motivates the young guys to work harder in the offseason, then that's a positive thing."
Lakeview - Eisenhower Stats
L-Zach Bigley 19 run, 7:05; Bigley pass to Zach VanDusen.
L-Bigley 35 pass to Brandon Rice, 2:38; VanDusen run.
L-Bigley 72 run, 8:37; 2-point conversion failed.
E-John Pascuzzi 1 run, 6:07; 2-point conversion failed.
L-Nate Kokoski 1 run, 2:20; Nate Kokoski kick.
L-Bigley 54 run, 8:49; Kokoski kick.
RUSHING-E-Alex Johnson 5-49, Pascuzzi 15-43 1TD, Aaron Lundmark 7-18, Rob Wilston 1-2; L-Blake Reddick 28-158, Bigley 6-151 3TD, Kokoski 14-57 1TD, VanDusen 3-17, Marquis Spence 1-5, Clayton Miller 1-(-1).
PASSING-E-Lundmark 5/16-98 2INT; L-Bigley 3/3-88 1TD.
RECEIVING-E -Pascuzzi 2-61, Nathan O'Brien 1-25, Carter Farrell 1-10, Wilston 1-2; L-VanDusen 2-53, Brandon Rice 1-35 1TD.