Top 10 Countdown No. 4: Standing Tall

294 is counting down what we believe are the Top 10 moments/games/performances from the 2020-21 high school sports season in Warren County.

Full Top 10 List to date

No. 4: Goal Line Stand Sends Eisenhower to District 10 Championship Game

The Eisenhower football team wasn’t really challenged as it rolled through an undefeated regular season.

In fact, the Knights only trailed once all year, after surrendering an opening-drive touchdown at Cochranton, as they headed into the District 10 playoffs. They outscored opponents by an average of 45 points per game, 49.85 to 4.85.

Of course, Eisenhower knew going in that West Middlesex was going to provide a formidable challenge. The Big Reds had lost only twice during the season (both times to Reynolds) and were battle-tested as a result.

The result was an instant classic between the two teams in the District 10 Class 1A semifinals. A double-overtime thriller that came down to a 2-point conversion attempt (twice!).

In the end, the Eisenhower defensive front stood as tall as it had all season and stopped Ian Smith’s dive up the middle to give the Knights a 22-21 win and a shot at the D10 championship.

In the early moments, it looked like Eisenhower might be on its way to another lopsided victory. The Knights drove down the field and scored on their opening possession and forced a Big Reds turnover-on-downs. But the Middlesex defense held on Eisenhower’s next possession and took over in Knights’ territory. WM scored to tie the game at 7-7, the final points of regulation.

Eisenhower thought it had scored on a pair of long touchdown plays in the second half, but both were called back due to penalties.

West Middlesex had a chance at a game-winning field goal with 13 seconds to play, but the kick never made it past the line of scrimmage and the game headed to overtime.

The Big Reds struck first in the extra period as quarterback Ty Tate connected with receiver Chris Smith for a touchdown and the subsequent 2-point conversion.

Cael Black ran it in for the touchdown and Owen Trumbull leaped over the line for the 2-point conversion as Eisenhower sent the game to a second overtime tied at 15-15.

Rewatch the entire game:

Eisenhower had the first possession in the second overtime and Trumbull dove in to finish off a 5-yard run. Jake Venman connected on the extra point to put the Knights up 22-15.

Colby Johnson scored on a 5-yard run of his own to get the Big Reds within a point at 22-21. West Middlesex opted to go for a 2-point conversion and the win instead of kicking an extra point for a third overtime.

On the first try, quarterback Ty Tate’s pass fell incomplete, but a flag for defensive pass interference set up the final play.

Tate lined up under center on the second attempt, took the snap and handed it to Smith. Smith tried to plow his way through, but the Knights’ defensive front formed an impenetrable wall that stopped Smith short of the goal line.

Eisenhower fell to Reynolds in the championship game, but this win and its final play will be one the Knights and their fans remember for a long time.