Eisenhower rolls past Mercyhurst Prep 33-7
RUSSELL — The Eisenhower Knights moved to 6-0 on the season with a 33-7 Region 2 victory over Mercyhurst Prep behind senior Benji Bauer’s 257 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
The Knights won the coin toss and elected to receive, but fumbled away the opening kickoff, which put the Lakers on the 50-yard line to start their first series. The region’s leading passer, David Bahm, moved the ball down to the 11-yard line, but on fourth-and-3, the Knights defense stopped a run off-tackle.
The Knights took over and junior quarterback Shawn Pascuzzi hit junior tight end Kris Bunk for a 51-yard completion down to the 3-yard line. Two runs by the Knights didn’t move the ball, but Pascuzzi followed with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Bunk. Cole Kellogg’s point-after kick was good giving the Knights the lead, a lead they would never lose.
The Knights defense forced a Lakers punt, but the Knights were then forced to punt for the first time this season.
The Knights defense stopped the Lakers on fourth down and took over on their own 40-yard line. Punishing runs by Bauer and junior fullback Tucker Lindell took the ball down to the 20-yard line, Bauer then got the handoff and battered his way for a 20-yard touchdown to make it 13-0.
The Lakers drove down to the 2-yard line before Bahm hit senior wideout Josh Wingerbach for a touchdown with 4:21 remaining in the half. The PAT was good by Garrett McGwire giving the visitors their only points of the night.
The Knights took over and drove down to the Lakers’ 9-yard line before Bauer scored the second of his three touchdowns taking the ball around end for the score with three seconds remaining. Bauer would add the 2-point conversion to put the Knights up 21-7 at halftime.
The Lakers received the second-half kickoff and eventually drove down to the Eisenhower 13-yard line before Bahm was intercepted by Pascuzzi. After driving down to the Mercyhurst 8-yard line, Pascuzzi threw to Bunk for a touchdown to put the Knights up 27-7.
The Lakers fumbled and Eisenhower’s Keegan Eckstrom recovered before an eight-minute drive ended with Bauer scoring on a 3-yard run.
“That was as close to a complete game as we have played this season, against a great team with phenomenal athletes no less,” Eisenhower head coach Jim Penley said. “I thought our offensive line had another great game. They had some big boys, but our guys just opened holes for our runners all night.”
The Knights defense held Bahm to 8-of-19 passing for 101 yards and a touchdown with two Pascuzzi interceptions.
“I thought our defense played great,,” Penley said. “Our defensive backs: Shawn Pascuzzi, Garrett Jensen, Keegan Eckstrom and Wyatt Lookenhouse, really shut down their passing game.”