Eagles survive Wildcats
Friday's game between Eisenhower and Piedmont was like many big-budget summer blockbuster movies.
The opening and closing stages were filled with excitement, even if the middle was lacking substance. But after building a 19-0 lead in the first quarter, Ike had to hold on for dear life to beat the Wildcats, 26-21, in a District 5A-2 battle at Cameron Stadium.
The game appeared over when the Eagles stopped the Wildcats on fourth down at the Ike 26 with 2:39 left and Ike owning 12-point lead.
However, Eisenhower could not milk enough time off the clock and had to punt. RJ Fisher, who had averaged 30 yards a punt up to that point, kicked the ball off the side of his foot, resulting in just a nine-yard net.
When Piedmont quarterback Garrett Morris found Bryson Ensminger for the touchdown to make it a 26-21 game with just 35 seconds to go, Ike fans began to feel their hearts beating quicker.
And when Piedmont recovered the ensuing onside kick near midfield, those hearts beat even faster. By the time Morris' last-second Hail Mary attempt went into the air, there were nearly palpitations in the home stands.
But the pass was knocked down by a group of Ike defenders and all was saved. The Eagles had won, they were still unbeaten in district and the near-meltdown would go down in record books simply as a win.
Eisenhower coach Mike Burris said after the game his team didn't have the best week of practice due to weather, but said his team responded positively on the whole.
"The kids played outstanding because we didn't have an outstanding day of practice because of the rain," Eisenhower coach Mike Burris said. "You need to be out on the field. They played their butts off. I'm proud of them."
As they have been apt to do this year, the Eagles started off hot. On just the second offensive play from scrimmage, quarterback RJ Fisher took off and found running room on his way to a 69-yard-touchdown play with just one minute and one second gone from the game clock.
Early on, it appeared as if good fortune would shine on the Eagles. After the Fisher touchdown, Piedmont misplayed the bounce of the ball on the kickoff and Eisenhower's Mark Berry recovered the live ball at the Piedmont 25-yard-line. Just two plays later, Fisher was back in the end zone, this time from eight yards out. It was 13-0 Ike and the game was not even two minutes old.
After Piedmont's drive ended on a failed fourth down conversion attempt, Fisher and the offense were back in business. But this time, the Eagles did a large chunk of their damage through the air. Although Fisher did have a 28-yard run on the drive, he also found Kinyon Parker twice on their march down the field, including a nine-yard touchdown heave to the back of the end zone that put the Eagles up 19-0.
Parker ended the game with five catches for 65 yards, and his quarterback said the trust level he has for his favorite target goes all the way back to their middle school days.
"Kin, we've been doing this for a long time together," Fisher said. "We're getting our timing down great and it looked good tonight."