RUSSELL, Pa. – Through three games, Eisenhower has dominated on both sides of the ball and the Knights will look to continue that domination when they travel to Union City Friday.
Things have gone so well for the Knights (3-0), that’s it’s been difficult for coach Jim Penley and his staff to find areas of improvement. Difficult . . . but not impossible.
Though the number has dropped exponentially over the previous two seasons, Eisenhower has still given up a handful of big plays defensively. One of those, a 66-yard pass, led to Seneca’s lone score in the Knights’ 56-6 Week 3 win. It was a busted coverage, and the Knights corrected it immediately.
“That was something we had worked on all week,” Penley said. “It was just a missed assignment.”
Outside of those minor mistakes, the Knights have been firing on all cylinders.
Defensively, a team that had just 10 sacks and 59 tackles for loss in nine games last season already has 9.5 sacks and 39 TFL through three games this year. Jared Beers and Cael Black have wreaked havoc in the backfield this season. Beers has 3.5 sacks and 8.5 TFL, while Black as two sacks and eight TFL.
And when those two aren’t getting stops in the backfield, Colby Hagg, Benji Bauer and Gannon Jaquay have filled the gaps. Hagg and Bauer are tied for the team lead in tackles with 21 each, Jaquay is right behind with 20.
As a team, the Knights have forced nine turnovers (eight fumble recoveries and one interception) while turning the ball over just three times.
Union City (1-2) will have to find a way to penetrate that defense if the Bears ground-and-pound rushing attack has any chance of success.
Caleb Stull leads the Bears with 64 carries for 340 yards and three touchdowns. David Roscinski has 47 rushes for 246 yards and two scores.
Quarterback Kyler Shaffer has only attempted 10 passes on the year, completing three for 33 yards, no touchdowns and in interception. But he’s run the ball 26 times for 114 yards and a touchdown.
In Week 1, the Knights defense held the Bears to just 46 total yards (three passing, 43 rushing).
As good as the defense has been, Eisenhower’s offense has been equally as impressive. The Knights have outscored their opponents 158-12. That includes a 47-0 win over the Bears in Week 1.
Owen Trumbull threw a pair of interceptions against the Bears in Week 1, but hasn’t thrown one since and is now 28-47 passing with 501 yards and eight touchdowns on the year. Trumbull has also shown his ability to run the ball, carrying it 12 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
The rapport he built with receiver Dillon Benson a year ago has continued as Benson has hauled in 12 receptions for 270 yards and four scores. Zane Alexander (5-67-2) and Caleb Robinault (5-51-2) have displayed their speed and explosiveness on the outside as well. Black has been there out of the backfield with four catches for 59 yards.
Black has been the workhorse with 33 carries for 293 yards and five touchdowns. A punishing runner, Black has added a touch of elusiveness to his game this season. In the Week 1 win against Union City, he ran for 104 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
With game scores being so lopsided, Bauer and Tucker Lindell have had ample opportunities to run the ball as well. Bauer has 14 carries for 110 yards and a score and Lindell has toted it 12 times for 54 yards.