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Eisenhower looks for win in regular season finale vs. Cochranton

The last time Eisenhower and Cochranton met on the gridiron a defensive struggle turned into an offensive showcase.

The Knights and Cardinals combined to score 54 second half points, 40 in the fourth quarter alone. Eisenhower’s Ethan Chambers and Cochranton’s Kohl Bernarding combined for 465 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

Tonight’s rematch will likely look a whole lot different.

Both Chambers and Bernarding are gone to graduation. The Knights’ (2-6 overall, 2-2 Region 2) offense has been most effective through the air this season, while the Cardinals (1-7, 1-3) has been virtually nonexistent.

Cochranton’s lone victory so far this season was at Saegertown where the Cardinals took down the Panthers, 46-24. In their seven other games, the Cardinals have scored 30 points . . . combined. Cochranton has been shutout four times (vs Maplewood, vs Titusville, vs West Middlesex and at Farrell) and lost a pair of heartbreakers (14-12 at Mercer and 13-12 vs Cambridge Springs).

This is not to say the Cardinals don’t have playmakers.

Jon Gallo is the team’s leading rusher with 91 carries for 362 yards (4.0 ypc) and four touchdowns. Dustin Miller and Kaden Tatters are the primary backups. Miller has 34 runs for 95 yards (2.8 ypc) while Tatters has carried the ball 22 times for 74 yards (3.4 ypc).

Sophomore quarterback Wyatt Barzak started the year 13-28 for 122 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions before exiting in Week 2. Since his return in Week 6, he’s 45-88 with 482 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions.

Kendrick Hostetler has been the Cardinals top receiving threat. He’s got 21 grabs for 373 yards (17.76 ypc) and three scores on the year. Gallo is second in receptions with 18 and has 231 yards and two touchdowns. Tatters has 14 catches for 83 yards and Miller has 13 for 94.

Defensively, the Cardinals have struggled to keep opponents in check.

Cochranton has surrendered 21 or more points in six of eight games this season, and on average, is giving up 31 per game.

Eisenhower’s offense has been able to move the ball this year-2,168 yards from scrimmage through eight games-but has struggled getting in the end zone.

The Knights have scored 21 or more points just three times, though they’ve only been shutout once.

Eisenhower’s passing attack has taken a big step forward. Junior quarterback Owen Trumbull is having a breakout year. After completing just 64 of 154 passes (41.5 percent) for 832 yards, seven touchdowns and nine interceptions in 2018, Trumbull has increased in completions by 25 percent. He’s 110-165 (66.6 percent) for 1,255 yards, 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’s become one of District 10’s most prolific passers.

One of the reasons for Trumbull’s success is the emergence of Dillon Benson. As a sophomore, Benson touched the ball just 11 times-all runs- for 64 yards and two touchdowns. His junior campaign has seen him become D-10’s second-leading receiver. Benson has 54 catches for 754 yards and eight touchdowns on the year, with another 104 yards on the ground. He trails only Franklin’s Dalton Buckley in receptions and yards and is behind Buckley, Jaelen Carson (Erie Cathedral Prep) and Ty Eilam (Sharon) in touchdowns.

The junior combo will look to provide some fireworks as the Knights honor their seniors in the final home game of the year.

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

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