Under pressure: Knights roughed up by Mercer in season opener

Eisenhower had a tough opponent to open the 2014 season.

And it showed.

Mercer raced out to a 34-0 halftime lead and never looked back, defeating Eisenhower, 40-14, in a non-region game held Friday at The Pasture of Pain at Eisenhower High School.

Just over a minute into the game, Mustangs quarterback Logan Clarke gave his team the lead for good when he found T.J Peters wide open down the middle of the field for a 45-yard touchdown. After an Eisenhower three-and-out, Clarke struck again when he found Jon Wegrzynek for a 30-yard touchdown pass.

Eisenhower’s next drive looked promising, but an interception by Clarke at the Mercer two-yard line stifled the Knights’ scoring chance.

Mercer was all over Ike starting quarterback Louie Head all game, sacking him seven times and pressuring him even more.

Wegrzynek scored again on Mercer’s next possession, running it in from five yards. After another three-and-out by Eisenhower, the Mustangs struck again. Clarke hit Brayton Edwards with a slant across the middle, and Edwards darted through the Knights defense on his way to a 73-yard score. Three minutes later, Edwards would be the beneficiary of another Clarke touchdown pass, hauling it in from ten yards out and giving his team a 34 point halftime lead.

Wegrzynek passed for 197 yards in the first half for Mercer and finished with 254 yards. The senior threw for over 2,400 yards as a junior for Mercer, which finhished 9-3 a year ago in Region 1.

Wegrzynek would score again in the third, but defending Region 2 champs Eisenhower – which lost Mercer 41-13 in the opener last year – did not go down without a fight. Head scampered 22 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the third quarter to cut into the Mercer lead.

Eisenhower would add another touchdown in the fourth when sophomore backup quarterback Spencer Gray found Thomas Warren, another sophomore, for a 15-yard scoring strike.

The Knights actually out-rushed Mercer 168 to 124, and also registered 123 passing yards. Head finished with 213 total yards to lead the offense, and sophomore Bryon Braswell rushed for 69 yards.

Eisenhower will return to action next Friday, hosting Youngsville (0-1) for the 2014 version of the Backyard Brawl.

After the 41-13 loss at Mercer last season, Ike reeled off five straight wins.