Big Plays Lead Knights to Rout of Braves

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Franklin vs Eisenhower
Eisenhower's Shawn Pascuzzi runs picks up a block from Mike Jones (30) on his way to a touchdown during the second quarter of a game against Franklin at Eisenhower High School, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Photo courtesy Steve Younger.

RUSSELL, Pa. – Methodical through the first half, Eisenhower exploded for big play after big play in the second on its way to a 41-6 win over visiting Iroquois Friday.

The Knights used a pair of 10-play drives to build a 14-0 lead at halftime, then had three 20-plus yard plays and a 90-yard kickoff return to help reach the final tally. The defense was equally dominant, holding the Braves to under 100 total yards.

Rewatch the game:

Iroquois (2-4 overall, 1-4 Region 2) had the first big play of the game with a blocked punt on Eisenhower’s (5-2, 4-2) opening possession. The Braves took over at the Knights’ 22, but only gained two yards on the drive before turning the ball over on downs.

The Knights, or more specifically Benji Bauer, took over on the 20 and marched 80 yards in 10 plays to open the scoring. Bauer ran on eight of the 10 plays and gained 75 of the 80 yards, including the final 1-yard TD run.

Wyatt Lookenhouse scooped a low snap on the PAT, rolled to his right and lobbed a pass to Kris Bunk in the end zone for the 2-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.

Eisenhower spread the ball around on its next possession. Bauer, Steven Reilly and Keegan Eckstrom all had carries to start the drive, but a penalty and a fumbled pitch put the Knights in a 3rd-and-21 situation.

Quarterback Shawn Pascuzzi dropped back and felt pressure coming from his blindside. Pascuzzi stepped up in the pocket and fired a pass to a wide open Lookenhouse for a 38-yard pickup. Three plays later Eisenhower had a 1st-and-goal from the eight. Pascuzzi ran a play-action then connected with a diving Lookenhouse for the touchdown.

Eckstrom got the fireworks started in the second half.

The opening kickoff bounced over his head and rolled to the 10. Eckstrom picked it up, made a couple of moves and was off to the races for a 90-yard return TD.

The Braves drove deep into Eisenhower territory but again turned the ball over on downs. Three plays later they forced and recovered a Reilly fumble to start at the Eisenhower 17. Michael Hoopsick scored on a 13-yard run to get Iroquois on the board.

A 20-yard Bauer run and a 14-yard Pascuzzi to Bunk pass, followed by a 15-yard personal foul penalty, put Eisenhower in the red zone. Eckstrom finished the drive with an 11-yard run for his second TD of the game.

Bauer opened the next Knights possession with a 40-yard run. Two plays later, Pascuzzi hooked up with Lookenhouse on a bubble screen and Lookenhouse went 39 yards to give Eisenhower a 1st-and-goal from the eight. Bauer ran it in two plays later for a 34-6 lead.

Reilly capped the scoring with just over five minutes to play on a 14-yard run.

Hoopsick finished with 15 carries for 80 yards and a score. The Braves did not complete a pass and no other player had more than 10 rushing yards for the game.

Bauer ran 20 times for 172 yards and two TDs. Nineteen of his 20 carries went for positive yards and he earned Jim Kelly Player of the Game Powered by the Allegheny Grille of Foxburg.

Eckstrom finished with seven carries for 52 yards and a score, plus the kickoff return TD. Reilly had 47 yards and a TD on five carries.

Pascuzzi was 5-8 passing for 99 yards and a touchdown. Lookenhouse caught four passes for 87 yards and a score and completed one pass for two yards and a 2-point conversion. Bunk had two receptions for 16 yards and a 2-pointer.

Iroquois travels to undefeated Northwestern next week.

Eisenhower has a chance to lock up the No. 2 seed in Class 1A if the Knights can get a win at Maplewood next week.