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Region 2’s best

Ike’s Bauer is Region 2 co-POY

Eisenhower senior Benji Bauer rushed for 2,067 yards and 24 touchdowns this season en route to being named a Region 2 co-Player of the Year. Times Observer File Photo

Eisenhower’s Benji Bauer and Seneca’s Ryan Miller were named co-Region 2 Players of the Year on Tuesday.

Bauer was the workhouse for the Knights, whose 11-1 season came to an end last weekend with a 28-14 loss to Reynolds in the PIAA District 10 Class 1A championship game.

The season will not soon be forgotten as Eisenhower set a record for most wins in a season while being District 10’s only undefeated team in the regular season.

Bauer excelled in every environment, on any field surface and even against higher-classification opponents.

Simply put, he rose to the occasion by rushing for over 100 yards in every game, highlighted by a 257-yard, three-touchdown effort against Mercyhurst Prep.

Benji Bauer Photo courtesy of Teresa Nizzi

Bauer is believed to be the first running back in Warren County history to break the 2,000-yard rushing barrier in a single season as he rushed for 2,067 yards and 24 touchdowns on 245 carries. He added 14 receptions and a touchdown.

Remarkable in itself, he rarely played in the fourth quarter of most of the Knights’ games.

On defense, all he did was have 23 solo tackles, 43 assists and 21 tackles for losses behind the line of scrimmage. Bauer had three quarterback sacks and added three interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.

He also punted for the Knights for nearly a 40-yard average. The Knights only punted eight times all year.

Bauer’s season was record-setting in single-season rushing yards (2,067), yards from scrimmage (2,199), rushing touchdowns (24) and rushing touchdowns in a game (5) against Seneca.

For his Eisenhower career, Bauer now holds the record for total rushing yards (3,541), total yards from scrimmage (3,760) and career rushing touchdowns (41).

“Benji has just had a phenomenal career on both sides of the ball at Eisenhower and that was the product of two things: one, a tremendous amount of work on his part to be the best player he could be; and having a strong team around him that worked incredibly well together,” Eisenhower head coach Jim Penley said. “When you see how a team can work like a well-oiled machine, special ball players can become amazing ball players. You can see that in the fact that five of his offensive linemen received all-region honors. … We were lucky enough to have a bunch of them this year, Benji being one of them.”

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