Eisenhower Eagles football made a stand on Friday night, holding off a rallying Hart Indians team with a plethora of momentum.
The Eagles came up with a vital sack on fourth and goal on the 11-yard line, preventing a late score by an Indian team that had just marched down the field twice.
Eisenhower senior Dashaun Benton had a huge day, coming up with the game-winning sack on fourth down while also adding two receiving TDs on offense in the 35-21 win over Hart at College of the Canyons
Hart (3-1) had a miserable game through the air as the Eagles were able to intercept quarterback Tim Larkins four times. Larkins was also sacked twice.
Eagles senior Jacoby Pointer-Caldwell also had a big-time game on both sides of the ball. Pointer-Caldwell added two interceptions on defense along with a 53 rushing yards and a touchdown on offense.
Hart was able to move the ball well on the ground, where the team got all three of its touchdowns.
Indians running back Chris Clauss punished the Eagles in the run game with 15 rushes for 103 yards. Junior Zach Rogozik also posted a solid game on the ground and came up with the Indians’ first score of the day, a 7-yard rushing TD.
Larkins and leading wide receiver Shawn Irwin hit their strides late in the game, when the two connected seven times and nearly swung every inch of momentum in their favor.
The two led a drive down the field, where Irwin made several spectacular catches late in the game. Larkins capped off the drive with a 12-yard rushing score, nearly turning the tides in Hart’s favor.
Irwin torched the Eagles (4-0) and finished the day with 10 catches for 167 yards.
To further the momentum, Indian safety Parker Maxwell came up with an interception on the Eagles’ following drive. It was quarterback Daniel Ruiz’s first pick of the season.
The Indians looked like they’d come back and stun Eisenhower, but Larkins’ rushing touchdown would be the last points of the day for Hart.
Hart’s defense held the Eisenhower run game in check for the most part and junior Nathaniel Mata added a sack for the Indians.
Larkins has been the Indians’ varsity gunslinger for nearly all four years of his high school career. One rough outing isn’t changing anything at Hart.
“It wasn’t his best night, but he’ll be fine,” said Hart coach Rick Herrington. “He’ll get better.”
Both teams entered the non-league contest undefeated but now only the Eagles move on as 4-0 victors. Hart still has a ton of positive takeaways and will head into league play with three wins.
“You win three games in a row and maybe you think you’re the greatest thing in the world,” Herrington said. “We got brought down a little bit here. We have to pick ourselves back up and say that’s not gonna happen again. And hopefully they’ll have that same mindset.”
“The mental stuff drives me crazy more than the physical stuff,” Herrington said “You got to know what we’re doing and what we’re trying to accomplish. If you go out there and do something on your own, that’s not gonna work for a team sport like this.”
Eisenhower returns home on a four-game win streak to host Elsinore. Hart will get its league bye next week and return to action on Friday, Sept. 22, against Golden Valley at COC.