The Eisenhower football team is at Union City for a league game tonight.
The Knights come into the game with a 1-0 record after beating Saegertown last week. The Bears, meanwhile, dropped their opener, 22-0, to Cochranton.
Eisenhower will face a Union City team that it played and defeated twice during the 2020 COVID-19 bubble.
“We can’t think about last year,” Knights head coach Jim Penley said. “They are a well-coached team and are always very well prepared to play us. We have to be ready.”
The Bears can cause problems for Eisenhower if the latter doesn’t establish its own physicality.
“They have run the triple-option for a long time and they execute it very well,” Penley said.
The Bears are big across the offensive line, anchored by the Pituch brothers at the tackle spots, Ben a senior, and Joe, a sophomore. Both stand 6 foot, 3 inches and weigh 260 pounds.
The Knights kept Saegertown out of the end zone last week behind five sacks by the defense and allowed only 67 yards of total offense, but Union City’s triple option will surely test the Knights.
“We have to establish our presence and control the line of scrimmage.” Penley said.
Eisenhower’s offense had a solid game last week with 362 total yards, including 299 on the ground, in their 14-0 victory. The Knights were led by junior Keegan Eckstrom, who had 11 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown; and junior quarterback Garrett Jensen, who in his first varsity start was a solid 6 of 9 passing for 63 yards and no turnovers.
Union City struggled last week against Cochranton with only 67 yards of total offense and zero pass completions.
The game could come down to depth. The Bears have 10 players going both ways while Eisenhower uses a rotation system on their defensive line and offensive skill positions.
“This game will be a good test of where our younger guys are and if our skill players can continue to improve,” Penley said.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Union City Junior-Senior High School, 105 Concord St., Union City.