Bernarding, Cardinals run away from Knights
Written by: Brian Hagberg on Saturday, October 20th, 2018
COCHRANTON, Pa. – Cochranton quarterback Kohl Bernarding amd Eisenhower running back Ethan Chambers took turns delivering big plays in the fourth quarter of their game Friday.
Bernarding came up big when it mattered most for the Cardinals (3-6 overall, 3-2 District 10 Region 2). Leading 42-34 with just under three minutes to go and facing a 3rd-and-9 from his own 31, he took the snap and ran to his right. Bernarding found the edge and raced down the sideline for a 69-yard touchdown to effectively put the game out of reach.
The Cardinals outlasted the visiting Knights (1-8, 1-4), 50-34, to clinch third place in Region 2 and a date with West Middlesex in the postseason.
“That’s the play they scored on last week (to beat Cambridge Springs),” Eisenhower coach Jim Penley said. “When you can’t stop the one play you prepared all week for . . .”
Bernarding ran for 228 yards and four touchdowns for the Cardinals, while Chambers racked up 237 rushing yards and four scores of his own.
“It was a tight game and I’m proud of the effort,” Penley said. “It was a brawl the whole game. They got that one score late.”
Things started well for Eisenhower, as the Knights recovered a squib kick on the opening kickoff and Chambers punched in his first of the game nine plays later from a yard out.
Cochranton wasted little time showing it would do whatever was necessary to get the win. On the second play from scrimmage, Curtis Freyermuth took a pitch from Bernarding. Freyermuth ran to his right, pulled up and fired a bullet downfield to a wide open Jon Gallo. Gallo sprinted down the sideline for a 66-yard score and caught the conversion pass from Bernarding to tie the game at 8-8.
The teams traded punts for most of the rest of the quarter until the Cardinals caught the Knights a man short on fourth down. Cochranton saw the confusion and Garrett Long took the snap and ran 16 yards up the middle for a first down to keep the drive alive. Bernarding broke free down the left side two plays later for a 34-yard score to put the Cardinals ahead 14-8. It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the remainder of the game.
Eisenhower turned the ball over on downs on its first possession of the second quarter. On Cochranton’s first play, Bernarding kept the ball on a zone read and went straight up the gut for 60 yards and a 22-8 Cardinal lead.
The Cardinals threatened again late in the half, as they drove down to the Eisenhower 25. Bernarding tried to hit Long in the end zone, but Riley West delivered a big hit to jar the ball loose. It popped into the air and into the arms of Nate Holt. Long was down for several minutes after the play, but was able to get up and walk off under his own power.
The Knights brought the ball out of the shadow of their own end zone, but the drive stalled and they were forced to punt it away.
Cochranton had another shot from the Eisenhower 21 with just six seconds to go, but West broke up a pass intended for Cale Miller in the corner of the end zone and the teams went into the locker room with Cochranton holding a 22-8 advantage.
Eisenhower got the ball to start the second half and drove to the Cochranton 34 before turning it over on downs. The Knights forced a 3-and-out on the subsequent possession and Joey Bauer burst through the line to block the punt and set Eisenhower up with a first down on the Cardinal 33.
Chambers got his second score of the game five plays later with a 5-yard run to bring the Knights within a touchdown at 22-14.
The defense forced a 3-and-out, but Holt muffed the punt and Cochranton recovered. Freyermuth took the ball on the next play, broke a couple tackles and raced 43 yards to paydirt to put the Cardinals back up by two scores, 30-14, heading into the fourth quarter.
Eisenhower completed a drive they started at the end of the third on the first play of the fourth. Owen Trumbull dropped back from the Cochranton 16 on a 4th-and-6. He put a touch on the ball and got it through a pair of defenders and into Holt’s hands. Holt needed only a few steps to cross the goalline to make it 30-20. The pair just missed on the conversion attempt to keep it a 10 point game.
Bernarding ran 48 yards on the first play from scrimmage, then punched it in from the 1 on the next play to get those points right back for the Cardinals.
Facing a 2nd-and-18 on the ensuing possession, Trumbull again looked in Holt’s direction. Holt looked like he was going to come down with the catch, but was blasted by a defender and lost the ball. Holt was also down for several minutes, but able to walk off.
The Knights seemed inspired after the hit and Chambers and Cael Black took turns pounding the ball for chunk plays until Chambers punched it in from the 5 to make it 36-28.
“We were without our two slot receivers (Zane Alexander had also exited with an injury),” Penley said. “The oline as a whole and Cael blocking, that was tough. Ethan’s just a workhorse.”
Cochranton answered with a methodical drive of its own and Freyermuth took it the final 14 yards to put the Cardinals ahead 42-28.
On the second play from scrimmage, Chambers took the ball up the middle, broke one tackle and spun away from another before galloping 62 yards down the field for a Knights touchdown.
Bernarding closed out the scoring three plays later.
Bernarding added 56 passing yards to his rushing total and Freyermuth finished with 105 total yards of offense.
Chambers had 29 receiving yards to go with his rushing total and Trumbull passed for 117 yards and a score.
Eisenhower returns to Riley Memorial Field next week for a clash with Seneca (0-8). The Knights will host Senior Night festivities as well.
“Our hope is the seniors go out the right way,” Penley said. “For the underclassmen, we want to see growth and have them finish the right way.”
Cochranton, meanwhile, will face a resurgent West Middlesex team that finished the 2018 regular season with a 7-2 overall record just a year after going 2-9. The Big Reds defeated the Cardinals 33-0 at Big Reds Stadium Sept. 21.
Their playoff game will kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday at Hickory High School.
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Score by quarters
Eisenhower 8 0 6 20 – 34
Cochranton 14 8 8 20 – 50
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E-Ethan Chambers 1 run (Chambers run), 8:35
C-Jon Gallo 66 pass from Curtis Freyermuth (Gallo pass from Kohl Bernarding), 7:42
C-Bernarding 34 run (Avery Lintz pass from Bernarding failed), 0:40.2
C-Bernarding 60 run (Freyermuth run), 9:41
E-Chambers 5 run (Chambers run failed), 3:48
C-Freyermuth 43 run (Gallo pass from Bernarding), 2:39
E-Nate Holt 16 pass from Owen Trumbull (Trumbull pass incomplete), 11:55
C-Bernarding 1 run (Bernarding pass incomplete), 11:13
E-Chambers 5 run (Chambers run), 8:18
C-Freyermuth 14 run (Bernarding run failed), 6:05
E-Chambers 62 run (Trumbull pass incomplete), 5:42
C-Bernarding 69 run (Garrett Long run), 3:46
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Team stats E C
Total plays 71 47
First downs 15 9
Rushes-yards 47-241 36-367
Comp-att-int 8-25-0 8-19-1
Passing yards 117 122
Total yards 358 489
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 4-40 3-30
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Rushing: Eisenhower, Ethan Chambers 34-237-4, Cael Black 6-20, Zane Alexander 1-0, Nate Holt 3-(-5), Owen Trumbull 3-(-11), Total 47-241-4. Cochranton, Kohl Bernarding 16-228-4, Curtis Freyermuth 11-90-2, Garrett Long 3-18, Jon Gallo 2-19, Avery Lintz 1-15, Team 3-(-3), Total 36-367-6.
Passing: Eisenhower, Trumbull 8-25-117-1. Cochranton, Bernarding 7-18-56-0-1, Freyermuth 1-1-66-1, Total 8-19-122-1-1.
Receiving: Eisenhower, Holt 2-39-1, Chambers 2-29, Garrett Head 2-29, Alexander 1-15, Black 1-5, Total 8-117-1. Cochranton, Gallo 4-75-1, Long 1-20, Freyermuth 1-15, Cale Miller 1-11, Lintz 1-1, Total 8-122-1.
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