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Cochranton Overcomes Eisenhower’s Late Rally for Crucial Region Victory @CochrantonPride

Written by: on Saturday, September 18th, 2021

 

Though the Cochranton Cardinals (3-0) walked off the field at Cardinal Stadium with a 34-14 victory over Eisenhower (2-1), the final score wasn’t indicative of how close the game was late in the 4th quarter. 

In fact, it seemed like the Knights were poised to steal the victory away from the Cardinals late in the game. With all of the momentum and driving, Eisenhower cut the Cardinal lead to 19-13 with 6 minutes left in the game.

“Football is a game of momentum,” Cochranton head coach Mike Feleppa said. “And Eisenhower had the momentum late in the game.”  

But Cardinal star running back Jack Martinec made sure that Cochranton would be walking off the field with a victory. With three rushing touchdowns in the game, two of them came late in the 4th quarter to put the game out of Eisenhower’s reach. 

“I knew I had to get it done,” Martinec said. “My team was fighting so hard, and that’s when you have to reach down and find a little more motivation and that grit. That’s when the game is decided. We only have 16 players on this team, but I know we have some of the toughest kids in District 10.”

Early in the first quarter, it looked like the Cardinals might run away with the game in a blowout fashion. The defense showed why it is one of the best and toughest in Region 2, forcing three 3-and-outs by the Eisenhower offense in a row to open the game. 

The Cochranton offense also was hot early, breaking away from its traditional run-heavy playbook by slinging it around through the air connecting for two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Noah Cummings. 

“We figured that Eisenhower knew that we were going to try to run the ball, so we wanted to switch things up a bit through the air, and it worked,” Cummings said. 

The first touchdown pass was in the flat to receiver Blake Foulk for a 36-yard score and the other a seam route for a 75-yard touchdown. 

“We saw that the Eisenhower free safety was really flying to our motion, so I thought we could get wide up the seam. We were able to get open for a big score,” Coach Feleppa explained.

Cochranton entered the half with a 19-7 lead, but neither team was able to put points on the scoreboard in the third quarter. And when the Cardinals got chances to land the knock-out punch and put Eisenhower away for good, mental errors and untimely penalties held Cochranton back. 

Even so, the Cardinals showed resilience and grit, clamping down and defense when necessary and putting the ball in the endzone late to seal the victory. 

“Our kids kept fighting and fighting, “Coach Feleppa said. “And I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Next Saturday, the Cardinals face off in another Region showdown against the undefeated Northwestern Wildcats.

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