Eisenhower ‘resets’ with win over Plymouth
Canton — Max Wittwer tossed aside two early interceptions to lead Utica Eisenhower to a 28-7, season-opening win over Plymouth on a hot Friday night.
Wittwer completed 14-of-21 for 185 yards and three touchdowns, including 77- and 26-yard scoring tosses to Ryan Chargo.
“My coaches just keep me in check, keep me focused and ready to work,” Wittwer said. “Our motto this year is reset and what that basically means, whether you make a good play or whether you make a bad play, all you have to do is worry about the next play and that’s all we’re doing. We’re just doing our jobs and trying to win.”
Eisenhower’s defense made Plymouth’s rugged, 5-foot-10, 200-pound senior running back Darius Timmons earn his 88 yards on 20 carries, holding him to 35 on 10 during the final three quarters.
And, Eisenhower defensive back John Stroble came up with two interceptions, one in the second quarter near midfield, then another late in the third quarter to end a Plymouth drive at the Eisenhower 11.
“I felt our defense really played great all game, gave up just one big play and it could have been a pick on the touchdown,” Eisenhower coach Chris Smith said.
The key play of the game came early in the second half when Plymouth went for the fake punt from its own 32 and Alan Farmer was tackled short of the first down by Anthony Tocco.
Eisenhower took advantage when Jacob Albrecht broke loose for a 16-yard TD run on a sweep for a 14-0 lead.
Plymouth quickly answered when Isaac Emminger returned the kick 68 yards to set up Jonah Peterson’s 27-yard TD pass to Chase Timko, who wrestled the ball away from John Fantauzzo in the end zone.
Then, Wittwer again went to work, taking advantage of a short field and finding Chargo once again, this time for 26 yards and a 21-7 lead with 7:22 left in the third.
Eisenhower stopped Plymouth on two more fourth-down attempts in Plymouth’s territory, taking advantage of the second stop when Wittwer threw his third TD pass, a 22-yarder to tight end Ben Mets with six minutes left.
Eisenhower held a 7-0 halftime lead and it could have been much larger.
After throwing interceptions on the first two series, Wittwer again went up top on the first play of the third drive, finding Chargo behind the secondary for a 77-yard TD with 23 seconds left in the opening quarter.
“We set them up, just got the momentum going on one way and hit the back side post on the other and it was beautiful,” Wittwer said of the TD pass, saying the second TD pass to Chargo was on the same play.
Plymouth moved the ball on the ground with Timmons, who rushed for 53 yards in the first quarter, then got inside Eisenhower territory before being stopped on third-and-4 from the 43.
Then, Eisenhower’s Wittwer connected to Mets for first downs on consecutive third down passes before finding Chargo on fourth-and-2 for a first down at the 25 before sacks by Joe Supernois and Kyrece Smith ended the threat.
Wittwer and Eisenhower had one more chance to get into the end zone after Stroble intercepted at the Eisenhower 47 with two minutes left.
Wittwer went to work, finding Mets and Albrecht on passes of 11 and 21 yards to the 15, but after a grab out of the end zone, Eisenhower failed to get points on the final play of the half on a fumbled snap during a 31-yard field-goal attempt.