Tigers kick their way to overtime win

Cody Hauser upends a runner during Eisenhower's overtime win against Salina Central. Stephanie McKennon/TSnews

By Travis Mounts

Carlos Vidrio booted a 21-yard field goal in overtime to give the Eisenhower Tigers a 45-42 win Friday over the visiting Salina Central Mustangs.
The kick gave the Tigers (1-1) their first win of the season.
Things looked tough early as the Mustangs took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. The Tigers fought their way back into the game with three straight scores in the second quarter. Ben Hogan completed touchdown passes of 9 yards and 30 yards to Cade Friend, and Cody Hauser tied the game with a 45-yard interception return with 1:52 left in the half.
“Our perseverance, that was our No. 1 thing,” said Eisenhower head coach Darrin Fisher. “We never gave up. There was a lot of game left. There was no quit in our players.”
The Mustangs scored with 9.7 seconds left before halftime for a 27-21 lead. The Tigers blocked the kick.

Coby Smith makes a tackle during Eisenhower’s home win over the Salina Central Mustangs.

Eisenhower came out in the third quarter and scored 13 straight points, as Cody Hawks scored on a pair of 1-yard runs. One of the kicks was blocked, but the Tigers led 34-27 with 1:49 left in the quarter.
Central tied the score moments later, thanks in part to a 70-yard kickoff return that put the Mustangs in the red zone. Eisenhower came right back for another Hawks TD run, this one from 2 yards out, for a 42-34 lead just before the quarter ended. Hawks also ran in for the 2-point conversion.
The Mustangs blocked a field goal attempt in the fourth quarter to stay in the game, then tied the game at 41 with 51.4 seconds left in regulation.
Central got the ball first in overtime, and drove to the 2-yard line on the first play. But Eisenhower’s defense held and kept the Mustangs from scoring. After two completions and a 6-yard run by the Tigers’ Hogan, Vidrio came on and won the game.
“We underestimated Salina Central,” Fisher said. Coming back from that early deficit, however, could be a season-defining moment for the Tigers.
“Last week we relied on defense, this week on offense. If we can put a whole game together, we could be pretty good,” Fisher said.
The key for this Friday’s game at Andover Central is a quick start. The Jaguars beat Newton in Week 1. Last week’s game against Buhler was cancelled after Andover Central had a player test positive for COVID-19.
“We need to come out strong in the first quarter and play four quarters of football,” Fisher said.