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Knights set for playoff battle with Reynolds

For the first time since 2016, the Eisenhower Knights are back in the playoffs.

Their reward is a rematch with the Reynolds Raiders in the District 10 Class 1A quarterfinals tonight at 7 p.m. at Wilmington High School.

The Knights are the third-place team from Region 3 with a 3-2 region record, while Reynolds is the second-place team from Region 1, and come in with an overall record of 6-3.

The two teams met three weeks ago on Oct. 4, a 41-6 win for the Raiders, the score is a bit misleading, however, as the Knights led at the end of the first quarter and it was a 14-6 game at halftime.

To pull off what most would consider to be an upset, the Knights know they must put together a full for quarters.

Junior quarterback Owen Trumbull was very efficient in the first meeting, completing 14-of-18 passes for 141 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.

Trumbull has turned in a very strong season, completing 128-of-194 passes (66.0 percent) with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions, much more than that, however, he has showed tremendous leadership and command of the offense.

Of course, it helps when you have one of District 10’s premier receivers, which is exactly what Dillon Benson is. Benson ranks second among all D-10 receivers with 821 yards on 62 receptions and eight touchdowns, putting himself in position to break multiple single-season program records.

When Trumbull isn’t looking Benson’s direction, Zane Alexander serves as a multiple threat out of the backfield as runner and receiver.

What the Raiders were able to do was limit the Knights’ rushing attack. Junior tailback Zane Alexander was their leading rusher, carrying the ball nine times for 30 yards. For the game, Reynolds limited EHS to just 36 yards on the ground.

Reynolds’ offense goes through junior running back Cole Toy, who is one of 10 players in District 10 to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing on the season, carrying the ball 149 times for 1,109 yards and 12 touchdowns, an average of 7.4 yards per carry.

In the first game between the two, Toy carried the ball 14 times for 120 yards and three touchdowns as the Raiders did a solid job of controlling the line of scrimmage.

When the Raiders to go to the air, Bryce McCloskey has been very efficient, completing 51-of-77 passes (66.2 percent) with 6 touchdowns and two interceptions. His top target is Sean O’Hara (17 receptions, 224 yards, 2 touchdowns).

While Eisenhower comes into the game on a high following a dramatic 21-14 win over Cochranton, Reynolds comes into the game off a tough 13-6 loss to Northwestern

In that game, the Wildcats limited the Raiders to 147 yards of total offense, completely shutting down their passing game in the process.

It’s a recipe for success the Knights hope to emulate.

That job will be tasked to a defense that has been led by Gannon Jaquay (64 tackles, 9 tackles for loss), Jared Beers (57 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss), Alexander (48 tackles, 1 interception) and Colby Hagg (47 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks).

The winner moves on to play Region 2 champ and unbeaten Maplewood in the semifinals next Friday.

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