Knights run wild in the rain en route to region win
Friday’s weather indicated that it would be a night for the offensive line and the running game and boy was it ever.
Behind a dominating effort from Eisenhower’s offensive line, Bryon Braswell ran for 211 yards and three touchdowns as the Knights earned a 47-14 win over Saegertown in cold and rainy conditions.
It was part of an effort that saw the Knights’ rush for 349 yards on just 27 attempts.
“I was glad to see Braswell and (Adam) Pascuzzi run so well,” said Eisenhower coach Jim Penley. “They’re two hard-nosed kids who’ve got a game, maybe to left. I was just really happy to see how they ran the ball. Obviously it was raining a lot and pretty sloppy, so yeah, this was football weather.”
Jaydon Hayes and the rest of the Knights’ (5-4) defense was also very good, as Hayes intercepted two passes and also had a receiving touchdown.
To open the game it was Braswell right from the get go, as he ran for 31 yards down to the five and punched it in from there for a 6-0 Ike lead just over a minute in. The score came after the Knights recovered the kick off one of two times on the night that happened.
The Knights scored 40 points before Saegertown found the end zone in the fourth quarter.
“I was happy to see how well we played on the offensive line, particularly on the counter plays” Penley said. “The counter plays were outstanding for us.”
The Knights didn’t have to run a ton of plays on offense. In fact, they ran 19 less than the Panthers, mostly because of plenty of ‘chunk’ plays, as well as the defense setting them up with some short fields.
On the second play of the second quarter, Hayes intercepted Saegertown quarterback Tony Offi and returned it 60 yards down to the five. That led to Braswell’s second score of the game from a yard out.
On the ensuing drive, a 53-yard scamper by Braswell set up Adam Pascuzzi’s 10-yard touchdown run with 1:29 left in the half.
Kicker Ross Venman recovered the ensuing kickoff and a 20-yard pass from Spencer Head to Hayes and a 22-yard run by Braswell set up Pascuzzi again to make it 26-0 at halftime.
“The weather changes a few things,” noted Penley. “We like to throw the ball a little more. The thing is we like to run a lot of screens those plays are like runs to us. Saegertown’s defensive ends played very well and the only way to get a perimeter game is by running those bubble screens. That’s what we went with.”
Braswell capped off his monster game early in the third quarter with a 41-yard touchdown run and Hayes took one of the aforementioned bubble screens from Head and raced in from 21-yards out on the next drive to invoke the mercy rule at 40-0.
It was a dominating effort on both sides of the ball, capped by Ethan Chambers’ 24-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Both of Saegertown’s TDs came with the game well in hand.
The Knights needed some help to enhance their District 10 playoff chances and unfortunately didn’t get it. Iroquois did beat North East 28-7, but Northwestern, whom the Knights needed to win, fell to Seneca 44-12. Both North East and Eisenhower finish in a tie for fourth place and the final playoff spot in Region 3 at 3-3, but the ‘Pickers own a head-to-head win over the Knights.
“For us to move to double A and for us to be the smallest school in double A and come out and compete and win a number of those games against bigger schools is great,” Penley said. “No matter how it plays out, we want to make the playoffs. We’re also in a spot of growing a group of young men and we have a tremendous group of young men. As a coach, I couldn’t be more proud of how they play, how they work, how they practice. My feeling is even if we don’t end up making it, as a coach it’s a success to come out here and get to work with these young men.”
The Knights will close out the season next week by hosting Union City.
Saegertown 0 0 0 14 14
Eisenhower 6 20 14 7 47
E Bryon Braswell 5 run (PAT failed) 10:39
E Braswell 1 run (Ross Venman PAT) 10:10
E Adam Pascuzzi 10 run (Venman PAT) 1:29
E Pascuzzi 8 run (PAT blocked) :15
E Braswell 41 run (Venman PAT) 6:49
E Jaydon Hayes 21 pass from Spencer Head (Venman PAT) 2:14
S Seth Lang 10 run (2-point conversion failed) 10:22
E Ethan Chambers 24 run (Venman PAT) 5:52
S Zack Posego 11 run (Posego 2-point conversion run) :21
First Downs 14 10
Rushes-Yards 27-349 46-228
Comp-Att-Int 4-4-0 0-4-3
Passing Yards 63 0
Total Yards 412 228
Rushing: Saegertown Posego 22-136, TD; Lang 8-44, TD; Ofri 11-28, Mattocks 5-20; Eisenhower Braswell 13-211, 3 TD; Pascuzzi 5-49, 2 TDs; Chambers 3-40, TD; Head 6-0
Passing: Saegertown Offi 0-of-4, 3 INTs; Eisenhower Head 4-of-4, 63 yards, TD
Receiving: Saegertown None; Eisenhower Hayes 4-63, TD
Interceptions: Eisenhower Hayes 2, Samuelson