CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS — U-G-L-Y.
Cambridge Springs has no alibi. That was just ugly.
“It was ugly,” said Cambridge coach Walt Nottingham. “There is no other word for it.”
The Blue Devils forked over six turnovers and all but one of them ended in points for Eisenhower as the Knights throttled the Spa 49-6 Friday at Baird Field.
The win makes Eisenhower 2-0 overall and 1-0 in Region 2. Cambridge Springs is 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the region.
“We lost a lot of guys (to injury) last year and we had to grow up lot,” said Eisenhower head coach Jim Penley. “We’re hoping to get ourselves to a point where we’re in the playoffs this year. And we’re hoping that we’ve grown up enough as a team to do that.
“But that’s a long ways away. We have two wins. This one was against a good Cambridge Springs team. I felt good about how the team played.”
During the first quarter it appeared as if a good game was brewing. The two teams went back-and-forth and Cambridge (1-1, 0-1 Region 2) was even winning the field position battle.
The Devils handed over their first fumble in the first quarter, but the Spa defense forced the Knights to go three-and-out.
Later in the period, Eisenhower (2-0, 1-0 Region 2) broke the scoreless tie when tailback Ben Wilston scored a 2-yard touchdown run, finishing off a sharp seven-play, 66-yard-yard drive.
Cambridge got the ball back, and on the first play from scrimmage the Devils fumbled the ball away on their own 18-yard line. Eisenhower recovered and was back in the end zone three plays later on a 1-yard dive by Wilston.
Cambridge got the ball back, and again on the first play from scrimmage the Devils handed it back to the Knights, this time on the Spa 14. Four plays later, six more points for Eisenhower. This time Dustin Huntoon had a 1-yard touchdown carry.
The Knights had scored three touchdowns in 2:59.
“Once a team gets momentum like that, it’s tough to get back,” Nottingham said.
The wounded Cambridge squad was three-and-out on its next possession. Eisenhower took over and mounted an eight-play, 53-yard scoring drive that made it 28-0 Knights. On a fourth-and-9 play, Eisenhower quarterback Cody Crosby hit receiver Lucas Schwanke in the end zone on a 19-yard pass for the score.
With two minutes remaining in the first half Cambridge had a chance for one more drive.
“Next thing you know, there’s another fumble,” said Nottingham.
On the second play of the series the Spa handed it over to Eisenhower on the Spa 35. Five plays later, Ike’s David Osborne was in the end zone on a 3-yard run. Halftime score: Eisenhower 35, Cambridge Springs 0.
“Four fumbles in the first half,” said Nottingham. “You can’t turn the ball over like that. At first it was a good game, and then all of the sudden we started giving them the ball. Eisenhower is too good of a team to allow that to happen.”
The Knights certainly took advantage of the opportunities presented to them.
Wilston led Eisenhower’s ground game with 116 yards and two scores on 25 carries. And Crosby had a nice day in the air, going 8-for-13 for 114 yards and one touchdown.
“Granted, there were a lot of mistakes out there that we took advantage of,” said Penley. “But I felt really good with how the team played. We wanted to come out and play as dominant as we could. And I felt like we did that.”
Indeed, in the first half Eisenhower ran 36 plays and picked up 226 yards and nine first downs. Cambridge Springs ran 17 plays and had 36 yards and one first down.
Things evened out a little in the second half. Still, turnovers plagued the Spa.
In the third quarter, Osborne picked off Steven Kargol and returned the ball 55 yards for a touchdown And as the fourth quarter was coming to a close, the Spa fumbled the ball right into the hands of back-up linebacker Matt Moore, who returned it 74 yards for the Knights’ final score of the night.
In between those two second half turnovers, Cambridge enjoyed its only sustained drive of the game. The Devils went 52 yards on 11 plays and made their first and only trip into the end zone on Justin Shader’s 1-yard run.
CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS — U-G-L-Y.