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The Summer Huddle – Eisenhower

Eisenhower Knights

Coach: Jim Penley
2008 overall record: 4-6
2008 region record (place): 4-4 (6th place, Region 2)
Playoff results: Did not make District 10 playoffs
Top players lost: RB/LB Ben Wilston, RB/LB Dave Osborne, WR/DB Lucas Schwanke, RB/DL Andy Blair, TE/DL Matt Moore, OL/DL Bob Borton, OL/DL John Carlson

Cody Crosby, first-team all-Region 2 kicker and punter, second-team all-region quarterback and defensive back

Cody Crosby, first-team all-Region 2 kicker and punter, second-team quarterback and defensive back

Top returning players: QB/DB Cody Crosby, TE/DB Mike Rulander, OL/DL Ryan Brendlinger, RB/LB Dustin Huntoon, RB/LB Mitch Wilston, OL/DL Josh Herzog, OL/DL Nick Church
Key games: Sept. 10 vs. Saegertown, Oct. 2 at Union City, Oct. 9 vs. Cambridge Springs, Oct. 16 at Mercyhurst Prep
Outlook: Over the past six seasons since coach Jim Penley took over at his alma mater, Eisenhower football has been oh-so close to making a splash in the District 10 Class A playoffs. From 2004-06, they were the last team out. In 2007, they did make the playoffs at 6-5 but lost a tight first-round game to Mercer 14-7. Last season, the Knights finished 4-6 but 4-4 in Region 2 with a crucial three-point loss to Iroquois in the season finale that kept them out of the playoffs again. With their balanced passing and rushing offense and usually solid defense, if Eisenhower can find a way to win those close games, 2009 could be a special season. They will have to replace eight seniors but do return 16 of 22 players who started at least five games last season. One of the key players Coach Penley will miss is Ben Wilston, who led the team in rushing and interceptions and was among the leaders in receiving, tackles and sacks. The two-way star will be replaced in part by his younger brother Mitch Wilston and Dustin Huntoon. Wide receiver Lucas Schwanke (513 yards, 8 touchdowns) led the Eisenhower pass catching attack last year but will also be lost to graduation. Tight end Mike Rulander, an all-region performer as a junior, will look to pick up the slack. Tossing him the ball will be all-everything senior Cody Crosby. One of the team’s best players, Crosby will return with all-region honors as a kicker, punter, quarterback and defensive back to his name. With Bob Borton gone from the line, Ryan Brendlinger will look to lead the unit blocking for Crosby and the rest of the offense, which scored 22.6 points per game last season. The Knights were inconsistent mainly because they had key injuries to Osborne, Blair and Moore, which forced underclassmen to step in and fill key roles. Crucial game experience for the young players combined with a tough AA non-region schedule should help Eisenhower as they look to win the close games and finally bust through and make the A playoffs.

Schedule:
September

4 at Girard 7
10 Saegertown* 7
18 at Harborcreek Youth* 7
25 Youngsville* 7
October

2 at Union City* 7
9 Cambridge Springs* 7
16 at Mercyhurst Prep* 7
23 Oil City 7
30 at Cochranton* 7
November

6 Iroquois* 7

*Region 2 game

Tuesday: Region 2: Harborcreek Youth Services

Posted in: District 10, Football, Summer Huddle

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