The time is now for the Eisenhower Knights
Eisenhower chose to play a game last week, easily beating Cochranton, while West Middlesex opted to have a bye week to rest up and prepare for the trip to the ‘Pasture of Pain.
The Knights and Big Reds meet tonight at EHS in the Districtd 10 Class 1A semifinals at 7 p.m., with the winner to face the Cambridge Springs-Reynolds winner for the D-10 title next week.
Of the two, the Big Reds have challenged more, including a pair of losses to Reynolds (27-20, 36-14) and a 10-0 victory over Kennedy Catholic.
Eisenhower’s closest game, meanwhile, was the 31-8 win over Cochranton last week, a game in which they briefly trailed for the first time all season.
These programs do have some playoff history, with Middlesex beating Ike 21-17 for the 1A title back in 2002. The last time the Big Reds came to Eisenhower was a 27-2 regular season win in 2018.
This is a different Knight team, however, one that is forged in the trenches and highlighted by its vast array of weapons.
That starts with senior quarterback Owen Trumbull, who has thrown for 1,174 yards, 18 touchdowns, and just two interceptions. His top targets are Dillon Benson (28-584-6 TDs), Caleb Robinault (10-222-6) and Zane Alexander (13-180-4).
On the ground, Cael Black has been a workhorse, carrying for 809 yards (10.2 ypc) and 15 TDs. Benji Bauer, Trumbull and Alexander are threats in the run game as well.
Defensively, the Knights are led by Jared Beers (40 tackles, 13.5 TFL), Black (29 tackles, 16.5 TFL), Gannon Jaquay (52 tackles, 5 TFL), Bauer (46 tackles, 6 TFL) and Colby Hagg (35 tackles, 10.5 TFL).
That defense will be tested by a West Middlesex attack that can get it done both through the air and on the ground.
Ty Tate has thrown for 615 yards and three scores and rushed for 252 yards and seven more scores, making him a valuable weapon. Ian Smith leads the rushing attack with 357 yards and seven touchdowns, while Chris Smith (252 receiving yards) and Alex Rea (183 receiving, 101 yards rushing) are also valuable weapons.
Smith (51 tackles, 5 sacks), Kaleb Turcotte (40 tackles) and Nick Kobielus (7 tackles for loss) pace the defense.