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.

Knights Open Season with Stiff Road Test at Cochranton

August 26, 2022

COCHRANTON, Pa. – Two teams with high expectations following successful 2021 campaigns will get to set the tone for their respective seasons when Eisenhower travels to Cochranton for the season-opener Friday.

The Knights and Cardinals were both playoff teams a year ago. Both fell to eventual D10 champion Reynolds in successive weeks. Eisenhower in the semifinals and Cochranton in the title game.

With 18 of 22 starters returning on a team that’s made consecutive postseason appearances, Eisenhower expects to be in the thick of the playoff race again in 2022.

The Knights should be fairly balanced offensively and have enough playmakers that they can attack opponents in a variety of ways.

Leading rusher Benji Bauer (174 carries, 1,137 yards, 13 TDs) is a punishing runner with enough speed to turn a short dive into a big gain if he gets to the second level.

Junior quarterback Shawn Pascuzzi threw for 512 yards with four touchdowns and seven interceptions after moving from tailback in the wake of Garrett Jensen’s injury last year. Pascuzzi also ran for 329 yards and six touchdowns. Jensen threw for 247 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in four games.

The favorite target for both signal callers? Senior Wyatt Lookenhouse. Lookenhouse hauled in 25 receptions for 476 yards (19.0 ypc), and four TDs last season. No other receiver had more than 10 receptions a year ago but look for junior tight end Kris Bunk to have an expanded role in the passing game this season.

Senior all-purpose back Keegan Eckstrom is the ultimate x-factor for this offense. The speedster has the ability to break off a big play any time he touches the ball. Eckstrom had 10 total touchdowns last season, seven rushing, one receiving, and two kickoff returns.

The biggest question facing Eisenhower this season may be in its defensive front where the Knights will have to replace Gannon Jaquay, Drake Vanderhoof, and Mike Jones. Those three combined for 152 total tackles (30.5 TFL) and 10 sacks.

Cochranton, meanwhile, was a senior-laded team in 2021, losing 14 players to graduation. Still, with the confidence that comes from an unbeaten regular season a year ago, expect the Cardinals to make plenty of noise once again.

Regardless of experience, the Knights know the Cardinals will play a tough, physical game for 48 minutes.

Kickoff in Cochranton is set for 7 p.m.

      

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