By Travis Mounts
Four straight scores to open the game powered the Eisenhower Tigers to a 33-14 road victory over the Arkansas City Bulldogs.
It is the Tigers’ second straight win, and evens their record at .500. They have two more winnable games on the schedule as they continue to battle to host a first-round playoff game.
Eisenhower started the game with a bang, as Lucas Dickman ran 65 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
The Tigers went up 14-0 as quarterback Tyner Horn threw the first of three straight touchdowns in the first half. All three went to Cade Friend, including the first one, which went for 19 yards. Friend had a career night, setting a new school record for receiving yards in a game with 219 on 12 catches.
Ethan Ellingson ran in for the 2-point conversion on the second touchdown; the Tigers missed the earlier point-after kick.
Friend was the target for two more touchdowns in the second quarter, scoring on receptions of 54 and 20 yards. The Tigers missed the last of the point-after kicks, and took a 27-0 lead.
The Bulldogs showed a little bite by scoring twice before halftime. They made it 27-7 with a 59-yard strike with 2:09 to play. After recovering an onside kick, the Tigers were able to score again with a 48-yard pass with 1:37 to play, making it 27-14 at the midway point.
Those were the last points that Eisenhower’s defense allowed. The Tigers have now held their opponents scoreless in seven of their last eight quarters.
Eisenhower padded its lead with a 1-yard touchdown run from Cade Schuber in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers had their best offensive game of the season, with a balanced attack that went for 444 yards. Horn was dialed in with a 16-for-20 performance and 250 yards, with three touchdowns against one interception. Friend averaged 18.25 yards per catch.
Dickman had 113 of the Tigers’ 194 rushing cards, averaging 7.5 yards on 15 carries. Max Brown added 76 yards. It was Dickman’s first 100-yard game of the season and a career high.
With the exception of the final minutes of the first half, Eisenhower’s defense kept the Bulldogs’ offense caged up all night. Arkansas City had 158 yards of offense, all through the air. The Bulldogs ran 21 times for a net total of zero yards. They had just six first downs on Friday, compared to 23 for the Tigers. Eisenhower held Arkansas City to 2-for-10 on third-down conversions.
“We did a really good job of stopping the run,” said Eisenhower head coach Darrin Fisher. “Outside of the end of the first half, our defense was lights out.”
The defense was further boosted by the play of Kade Schuber, who recorded four sacks and disrupted Arkansas City’s backfield.
Fisher said Dickman’s touchdown run was critical.
“It really set the tone out there. Our offense hadn’t scored more than three touchdowns in a game,” he said. “It was nice to see our offense have some big plays. Our quaretback (Horn) has some talent.”
The Tigers were able to open up the playbook more. And with a strong running game, the passing game found more success.
Eisenhower’s final two games will be at home, starting this Friday when the Tigers host the Great Bend Panthers. Great Bend comes into the game still looking for its first win, but is not an opponent that should be overlooked. The Panthers had their closest game of the season last week, falling 22-21 at Liberal, which sports the same record as Eisenhower
“They do a lot of stuff defensively that will really test our offensive line. They could be trouble,” Fisher said.