Eisenhower Looks to Bounce Back Against Iroquois

Keegan Eckstrom TD run
Eisenhower's Keegan Eckstrom finds some space on his way to an 18-yard touchdown run during the second quarter of a game at Union City on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. Eckstrom scored three TDs (two rushing and a kickoff return) and the Knights topped the Bears, 48-26. Photo courtesy Steve Younger.

RUSSELL, Pa. – Eisenhower will try to get back in the win column when Iroquois visits the Pasture of Pain for a Region 2 clash on Friday.

The Knights (4-2 overall, 3-2 Region 2) are coming off a tough 48-7 loss to Region 2 co-leader Northwestern last week, while the Braves (2-3, 1-3) fell 47-0 to region co-leader Cochranton. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on D9and10Sports.com.

Offensively, Eisenhower is working to find its rhythm after some key starters were lost to injury. The offensive line was able to overcome losing starter Connor Younger last week as the Knights rushed for 235 yards against a Wildcats defense that was only allowing 125 rushing yards per game entering the contest.

Benji Bauer ran for over 125 yards last week and now has 83 carries for 536 yards and seven touchdowns for the season. While Bauer is more of a traditional ground-and-pound workhorse, Keegan Eckstrom is an explosive playmaker. Eckstrom has 42 rushes for 474 yards and five scores and has at least one 20-plus yard run in five of the six games.

New quarterback Shawn Pascuzzi struggled against an athletic Northwestern secondary but could find some openings against an Iroquois defense that’s allowing over 100 yards per game this season. Pascuzzi is 7-21 passing for 143 yards, a touchdown and five interceptions this season. He’s also run the ball 55 times for 301 yards and three scores.

Wyatt Lookenhouse leads the receiving corps with eight catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Bauer has six receptions for 43 yards and Eckstrom has three grabs for 92 yards and a TD.

The offense will try to exploit a Braves defense allowing 361.4 yards and 27.6 points per game.

Defensively, the Knights will have to prepare for a heavy dose of the run game.

Braves quarterback Sean Divins has attempted just 14 passes through five games. He’s completed seven for 102 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Sam Kightlinger has caught four of those seven passes for 33 yards.

Michael Hoopsick leads the rushing attack with 86 carries for 503 yards and six touchdowns. Ethan Klinzing has 21 runs for 190 yards and two scores and Savion Peoples has 14 carries for 113 yards.

Gannon Jaquay, Mike Beaver, Tucker Lindell and company will try to add to Eisenhower’s 44 tackles for loss this season.

The Class 1A playoff race is heating up with just a couple of weeks left in the season. Cochranton is the lone unbeaten in 1A at 5-0. Eisenhower and Maplewood are 4-2, while Reynolds and Mercer are 3-3 and Saegertown and Iroquois are both 2-3.