In the season opener, Salina Central ran wild and free to 424 yards.
Eisenhower made sure that didn’t happen again.
The Tigers bottled up the Mustangs’ lethal ground game and took advantage of short fields in a 24-14 win Friday night at Salina Stadium. Eisenhower improved to 1-1 while Salina Central dropped to the same record.
Eisenhower’s first drive started at the Central 38-yard line. Quarterback Tyner Horn opened up the scoring with a 13-yard strike to receiver Carson Cassell with 7:17 to play in the first.
Salina Central caught a break when receiver Cade Friend bobbled a pass that landed in the hands of senior cornerback Mason Gary. However, the Mustangs gave the ball right back on the ensuing play. From the 32-yard line, senior quarterback Parker Kavanagh aired out a pass that was intercepted at the four by Ethan Ellingson.
The Tigers padded their lead to 14 on an eight-play, 86 yard drive, finished off by running back Caleb Lowry. The junior pounded into the end zone from two yards away with 7:54 to go in the half.
Salina Central answered with an 11-play, 57-yard march. Kavanagh found senior receiver Logan Losey on a 4th and goal from the seven to cut the deficit to 14-7 before intermission.
Central’s defense thwarted an Eisenhower drive deep into Central territory with an interception by defensive back Inavion Lewis. Four plays later, Central faced a fourth and one from its own 19. The Mustangs chose to go for the first down. Kavanagh fired a pass out to Losey on an out route, but the ball went off his fingertips.
The Tigers pounced on the opportunity, scoring on a three-yard plunge by Cody Hawks with 3:26 remaining in the third.
The Mustangs had another opportunity to get back into the game following an electric kickoff return by junior Kenyon McMillan. Eisenhower added 15 more yards after a penalty, giving Central the ball at the Tiger 37. The Mustangs’ drive would stall out to close the third, giving Eisenhower all it needed to complete the win.
Salina Central was held to 210 yards of offense with a good portion coming through the air. Central had just 26 rushing yards in the first half.
The Mustangs will look to bounce back next Friday with a home game against Andover.