Coach (season, record): Jim Penley (9th season, 34-47)
2011 overall record: 3-7
2011 region record (place): 3-5 (fifth)
2011 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 Class A playoffs.
Top players lost: Jordon Hefferman, Logan Head, Clay Caffaro, Ken Peters
Top returning players: Jared Flaisman, Nathan O’Brien, Jeb Fedorchuk, Aaron Lundmark, John Pascuzzi, Trevor Spicer, Rob Wilston, Alex Johnson, Jarrett Johnson
Assistant coaches: George Sanders, Jeff O’Brien, Brandon Ferman, Dave Sabat, Steve Brendlinger, Dustin Huntoon
Outlook: Eisenhower is on its way back up after a tough 0-10 season in 2010. The Knights went 3-7 last fall and let a few games slip away in the final minutes. Eisenhower didn’t get hit too hard by graduation and the growing pains of the last two seasons could pay off this year. Jordon Hefferman, Logan Head, Clay Caffaro and Ken Peters graduated leaving a few holes for coach Jim Penley, who was on the Pennsylvania staff for the Big 33 game this summer. Hefferman could be the biggest loss after being voted to the all-region second team as an offensive and defensive lineman. Hefferman had 82 tackles as a senior and recorded 38.5 pancake blocks on the offensive line. Head led Eisenhower with 91 tackles and caught nine passes for 111 yards, while Peters had 26.5 pancake blocks on the offensive line and Coffaro recorded 40 tackles.
The Knights have plenty of experienced starters back this fall, including Nathan O’Brien. O’Brien was voted to the all-region first team as a defensive back and the second team as a punter. He paced the Knights with 17 catches for 239 yards and two touchdowns and developed a strong bond with quarterback Aaron Lundmark, who is also back. Lundmark threw for 589 yards and seven touchdowns. On the line, Jared Flaisman returns after being voted to the all-region second team. Jeb Fedorchuk, John Pascuzzi, Trevor Spicer, Rob Wilston, Alex Johnson and Jarrett Johnson are back as well to lead the Knights. Pascuzzi carried the ball 115 times for 730 yards and four touchdowns, while Spicer had 361 yards and one touchdown on 80 carries. Wilston was third with 326 yards and one touchdown on 90 carries, while Alex Johnson ran for 184 yards and one touchdown. Alex Johnson also had 62 tackles and Spicer had 52.
Eisenhower has the experience and the drive to put together a winning season and make the 2012 postseason. The Knights face a big test right away against Mercer but September could be the most important month. Eisenhower will travel to Maplewood and Iroquois, two tough teams at home, before hosting Mercyhurst Prep, Cochranton and Cambridge Springs (first week of October). Eisenhower’s biggest game of the year is always a rivalry showdown with Youngsville but by Week 9, the Knights should know if they are heading to the playoffs or not.
31 Mercer 7
7 at Maplewood* 7
14 at Iroquois* 7
21 Mercyhurst Prep* 7
28 Cochranton* 7
5 Cambridge Springs* 7
12 at Conneaut 7
19 at Union City* 7
26 Youngsville* 7
2 at Cameron County 7
*Region 2 games
– Tom Reisenweber