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Knights in search of second win at Maplewood

A season of “what if?” continued for Eisenhower last week as the Knights fell in another close contest to move to 1-6 on the year.

Reynolds traveled to the Pasture of Pain from Mercer County and the teams engaged in a good ol fashioned defensive slugfest. In the end, Raiders quarterback Sean O’Hara found Aidan Mull in the corner of the end zone with just over six minutes to go for the game’s only score and a 6-0 Reynolds victory.

Aside from a 25-point season-opening loss at West Middlesex, every Eisenhower defeat has been by a touchdown or less. In their remaining five losses, the Knights have been outscored by a combined 25 points. It’s certainly been a unique season, even if things seem to keep breaking for the opposition.

Eisenhower coach Jim Penley said he’s “never” seen a season like this.

“But I couldn’t be more proud of a group of guys,” he told the Times Observer following last week’s game. “We’re not getting the W’s, but when you play the way we do, I couldn’t be more proud.”

The Knights travel to Maplewood this week for a Region 2 showdown with the Tigers. Maplewood is 4-3 overall and 2-1 in Region 2 this year. The Tigers have wins over the Knights last two opponents, Cambridge Springs and Reynolds, as well as Lakeview and Cochranton. Maplewood has been bested by West Middlesex, Union City and Franklin.

The Tigers offense runs through junior quarterback JD McFadden. Through the air, McFadden is 35-63 for 967 yards and a spectacular 14:2 TD:INT ratio. He’s also carried the ball 109 times for 463 yards and another six scores.

McFadden’s favorite target is a freshman, but one he’s very familiar with. Jesse McFadden has 13 receptions on the year for 417 yards and three touchdowns. That’s a 32.1 yards per catch average, and not the highest on the team (with more than five receptions). That honor goes to senior Ethan Wright who’s averaging 34.2 ypc (9-308) and has a team high five receiving touchdowns. Senior Camron Bienio has 10 catches for 161 yards and four touchdowns.

Chevy Blake leads the team in rushing touchdowns with 7 and has 319 yards on 58 carries. Sophomore Kaleb Donor has run the ball 38 times for 196 yards and three scores.

Jesse McFadden leads the team with 66 tackles, including nine for loss. Blake (52) is second, while junior Bryan Kelly has 48 tackles and seven for loss. JD McFadden isn’t just good with the ball in his hands, he’s also forced a team leading four takeaways (three INT and a fumble recovery).

Eisenhower all-purpose back Ethan Chambers was held to just 83 total yards last week, and the Knights will need him to chew up yards on the ground to keep the potent Maplewood offense off the field.

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