Knights Ground High-Flying Lakers to Move to 6-0

Eisenhower's Benji Bauer (left) and Tucker Lindell (right) tackle Mercyhurst Prep's Ja'son Ellman during their game on Sept. 30, 2022. Photo by Steve Younger.

RUSSELL, Pa. – Eisenhower’s defense stymied one of District 10’s most prolific passers and Benji Bauer ran for nearly 300 yards as the Knights defeated visiting Mercyhurst Prep, 33-7, on Friday.

Eisenhower (6-0 overall, 3-0 Region 2) took over sole possession of first place in Region 2 with the win.

The Lakers’ (3-3, 2-1) David Bahm came into the game third in D10 in passing yards, but the Knights’ defense limited him to just 101 yards (only seven in the second half) and a completion percentage of just 37.5. Eisenhower held Mercyhurst Prep to just 65 yards of offense in the second half.

Rewatch the game:

Much of that was due to a grinding 18-play, 95-yard drive that took nearly eight minutes off the game clock in the third quarter. Bauer capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, his third of the game, that put the Knights ahead 27-7 with just over three minutes to play in the third.

The game started rather inauspiciously for Eisenhower. The Knights received the opening kickoff, and just as it appeared Shawn Pascuzzi might break through the coverage, Jesse Long caught Pascuzzi’s arm, spun around, and took the ball away.

Mercyhurst Prep marched down to the Eisenhower 11, but the Knights’ defense made a stand and Garrett Jensen broke up Bahm’s fourth-down pass to get the ball back.

A 51-yard pass from Pascuzzi to Kris Bunk on the ensuing possession gave Eisenhower a 1st-and-goal inside the Lakers’ five. Pascuzzi’s 3-yard touchdown run gave the Knights a 7-0 lead with just over five minutes to play in the first quarter.

Bunk and Pascuzzi talked about the win on the GWM Extra Point Show:

The Lakers responded with a lengthy drive of their own and Bahm connected with Josh Wingenbach on a 2-yard TD pass to tie the game at 7-7 with just over four minutes to play in the first half.

Two minutes later, Bauer’s first touchdown run of the night-a 20-yarder-put Eisenhower back in front, 13-7.

Eisenhower got the ball back with 1:42 to play in the half and moved down the field to the Lakers’ 9-yard-line. Facing a fourth down with 11 seconds to play and no timeouts, the Knights called Bauer’s number again and he delivered with a 9-yard run that gave Ike a 21-7 halftime lead.

Pascuzzi made up for his early turnover by stepping in front of a pass intended for Ja’son Ellman and getting the interception that set up the 95-yard touchdown drive.

Mercyhurst appeared poised to answer with a scoring drive of its own, but Jeremy Ganska lost the ball on a run that would’ve given the Lakers a goal-to-go, and Keegan Eckstrom was there to recover for the Knights.

A 52-yard Bauer run on the ensuing possession set the Knights up with a 1st-and-goal from the nine. Two plays later, Pascuzzi connected with Bunk and he plowed his way into the end zone to cap the scoring.

Bahm was 8-18 passing for 101 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Ganska finished with 13 carries for 125 yards, Wingenbach had four catches for 30 yards and a score.

Pascuzzi was 6-10 passing for 103 yards and a touchdown. He also had six carries for 22 yards and a score and picked off Bahm twice. Bunk finished with five receptions for 78 yards and a score.

Eisenhower will host Saegertown in a non-region matchup next week.