RUSSELL, Pa. – Eisenhower exploded for 29 first-quarter points on its way to a 55-14 win over visiting Franklin on Friday.
Eisenhower (3-0) marched down the field on its opening possession, then took advantage of a blocked punt and two consecutive kickoff recoveries to push the lead to 27-0. A safety with 12 seconds left in the first quarter extended the lead to 29-0.
“I can’t single any one guy out because everybody was grinding tonight,” Eisenhower coach Jim Penley said.
Rewatch the game here:
Keegan Eckstrom opened the scoring with a 25-yard touchdown run four minutes into the game.
On its opening possession, Franklin (0-3) got the ball near midfield, but a holding penalty pushed them back inside the 40 and Drake Vanderhoof’s third-down sack brought up a fourth down from the 25.
Camron Jakubczak came flying off the edge to block the punt and Tucker Lindell took it down to the Franklin five to give Eisenhower a 1st-and-goal.
Two plays later, Benji Bauer punched it in from one yard out to give Eisenhower a 14-0 advantage.
Franklin was unable to field the ensuing kickoff cleanly and Eisenhower recovered.
On the first play from scrimmage, Garrett Jensen fired a deep ball for Wyatt Lookenhouse. Lookenhouse reached over the back of the defender, came down with the ball and ran into the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown reception.
Franklin again had trouble fielding the kickoff and Eisenhower was able to recover to gain a third straight possession inside Franklin territory.
It looked as though Franklin had come up with a big fourth down stop on the drive, but a facemask penalty gave Eisenhower new life. Shawn Pascuzzi ran it in from seven yards out on the next play to push the Eisenhower lead to 27-0.
Though the ensuing kickoff was fielded cleanly, Mike Beaver was able to track down the returner at the one yard line and a block in the back penalty pushed Franklin even closer to its own goal line.
Two plays later, Eisenhower’s pass rush forced Franklin quarterback Cole Buckley to get rid of the ball to avoid a sack. Buckley was called for intentional grounding on the play and because the penalty occurred in the end zone also resulted in a safety for Eisenhower.
Jensen and Lookenhouse hooked up for the second time on the ensuing possession, this time from eight yards out to give Eisenhower a 35-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Carson Wible had a pair of runs over 20 yards on Franklin’s next possession, the second a 21-yard scamper into the end zone to get Franklin on the board.
Eisenhower came right back down the field and Pascuzzi took a screen pass 37 yards to paydirt to finish the drive and give Eisenhower a 42-7 lead.
Bauer scored his second rushing touchdown of the game with just under a minute to play in the first half to push Eisenhower’s lead to 49-7.
A big kick return on the opening kickoff of the second half gave Franklin good field position and, two plays later, Wible ran 17 yards for his second TD of the game.
Steven Reilly’s 2-yard TD plunge late in the third quarter closed out the scoring.
Wible finished with 89 yards and both Franklin TDs.
Pascuzzi finished with 75 yards and a TD on 12 carries, plus the 37-yard TD reception. Bauer ran nine times for 72 yards and two scores, while Eckstrom had five carries for 98 yards and a TD and Reilly had 28 yards and a score.
Jensen finished 3-4 passing for 79 yards and three TDs.
Lookenhouse had two receptions for 42 yards and two scores and was the Jim Kelly Player of the Game Powered by the Allegheny Grille of Foxburg.
Franklin heads home for a Saturday evening Region 5 tilt with Warren next week, while Eisenhower heads to Seneca for a Region 2 clash on Friday.