RUSSELL, Pa. – The Northwestern defense needed just two plays to show why it’s caused so many issues for the rest of Region 2.
The Wildcats intercepted Eisenhower quarterback Shawn Pascuzzi on the second play from scrimmage, the first of four interceptions on the night as Northwestern stayed unbeaten with a 48-7 win at Eisenhower Friday.
Following that first interception, picked by Jake Kelly, Northwestern (5-0 overall, 5-0 Region 2) needed just three plays to go 40 yards for a 7-0 lead. Senior quarterback Ryan Tewell did all the work on that drive, running for all 40 yards, including a 33-yard scamper on first down.
Rewatch the game:
Tewell went on to have a hand in four more Wildcats scores to earn Jim Kelly Player of the Game Powered by the Allegheny Grille of Foxburg honors.
Defense ruled for the remainder of the first quarter as neither team scored again.
Early in the second quarter, Cameran Perkins found a soft spot in the defense and hauled in a Tewell pass. Perkins made a couple of moves and picked up a key block as he raced in for a 60-yard touchdown and a 14-0 Northwestern lead.
Eisenhower (4-2, 3-2) took the ensuing possession down to the Northwestern 25, but Perkins picked off a Pascuzzi pass to end the drive.
A 17-yard Tewell run coupled with a facemask penalty set the Wildcats up with a first down on the Eisenhower 10. Jordan Dohanic took the first down carry and waltzed into the end zone. The PAT was blocked, but Northwestern stretched the lead to 20-0.
The Knights again marched deep into Wildcats territory late in the half. On a third down play from the 18, Pascuzzi threw a high pass in the end zone intended for Kris Bunk but Eric Steinle won the jump ball for the third interception of the first half.
Logan Stagl took the second half kickoff into Eisenhower territory and a pair of Gage Hanisek-Brockett runs had the Wildcats inside the red zone. Tewell took the snap and rolled right before firing a pass to Steinle who caught it, made a move past a defender and dove across the goal line for a touchdown. Tewell hit Kelly for the 2-point conversion and a 28-0 lead.
Again, Eisenhower drove deep into Northwestern territory, but the Wildcats were able to get a fourth down stop to take over possession.
A 67-yard connection from Tewell to Stagl set the Wildcats up at the 10. Tewell connected with Steinle again on fourth-and-goal from the seven to increase the lead to 35-0 and induce the running clock for the remainder of the game.
A personal foul penalty after the touchdown forced Northwestern to kickoff from its own 25. The kickoff went out of bounds, and the Wildcats had to kick from their own 20. Pascuzzi fumbled on the return and Northwestern recovered to take over possession.
Tewell found Stagl over the middle and Stagl outraced the Eisenhower defense for a 52-yard touchdown.
The Knights forced a David White fumble one play after turning the ball over on downs to take over on the Northwestern 28. Stagl stepped in front of Pascuzzi’s pass on the next play and raced 85 yards to paydirt to close out the Wildcats’ scoring.
Benji Bauer took a handoff off left tackle, broke a pair of tackles and outran the Wildcats to the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown to end the scoring for the night.
Tewell finished 8-13 passing for 243 yards and four touchdowns. He also led the Wildcats in rushing with seven carries for 52 yards and a score.
Stagl had a big night as well with two receptions for 125 yards and a score. He also had a 77-yard interception return for a touchdown. Perkins had one reception for 60 yards and a TD, while Steinle had three catches for 44 yards and two touchdowns.
Bauer had 26 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Eisenhower closes out its home schedule next week when the Knights welcome Iroquois.