Knights seek first win, hosting Mercer

Owen Trumbull and the Knights look for their first win in their home opener against Mercer.

It would have been easy for Eisenhower to lick its wounds from a tough season-opener at West Middlesex and come out flat in the home-opener against Union City last week.

Instead, the Knights came out firing on all cylinders and marched down the field for a touchdown on the game’s first possession. What ensued after that was a game of will. The Bears and Knights traded big plays and long drives all night in what became an instant classic. An overtime thriller the Bears won 46-44.

Despite the loss, the Knights (0-2, 0-1 Region 2) discovered some things about themselves they hope to develop this week as they welcome Mercer (1-1, 0-0 Region 1) in a District 10 crossover game.

One of those discoveries is they have a young quarterback who can sling the ball a bit. Owen Trumbull completed his first nine passes of the game against the Bears, en route to a career day. He finished the game 14-18 for 206 yards and three touchdowns. One of those scores was an electric 66-yard scamper on a bubble screen to Zane Alexander. Alexander missed most of the second half in the opener at West Middlesex, but wasted little time making his presence felt against the Bears. The sophomore duo could be a dangerous combination for the Knights during the next two-plus years.

“We know we have some guys who can catch the ball,” Eisenhower coach Jim Penley said following last week’s game. “We hope (Trumbull) only gets better.”

When Eisenhower keeps the ball on the ground, as the Knights are known to do often, Trumbull will most likely hand the ball to Ethan Chambers. Through two games, Chambers has 33 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown. Nate Holt has logged nine carries for 56 yards and a score and Garrett Head has contributed in both the running and passing game. He’s got 19 carries for 31 yards, and 6 receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown.

Mercer has been a bit of an anomoly this season. The Mustangs opened with a decisive 21-6 win at Cochranton, then dropped a 10-7 decision at Girard. Their performance to date has earned them “Teams to watch” votes in the Harrisburg Patriot-News state rankings.

Mercer is also a run heavy team, with senior quarterback Dylan Hetrick having only attempted 15 passes. He’s completed 10 of them, but for only 124 yards and an interception. Most of those receptions (6) have gone to senior receiver Zack Previty. He’s turned those receptions into 81 yards.

The Mustangs have four players with at least 10 carries through the first two games. Seniors Brian Shevitz and Andrew Weinel have logged the bulk of the carries (20 and 27, respectively) but have a combined 153 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Aidan Bright hasn’t been fed as many totes, but has been able to make the most of the opportunities he’s received. Bright has 17 carries for 119 and a score.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Riley Memorial Field.