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Football: Eisenhower rallies past Rich East

After almost fumbling ball Eisenhower QB #10 DiParker recovered ball ran for 1st down during 1st half game led by

After almost fumbling the ball Eisenhower QB #10 Dion Parker recovered the ball and ran for a 1st down, during the 1st half of a game led by Rich East 19 to 15 at the half on 8/31/13. | John Booz/for the Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 31, 2013 2:36AM



Big plays paid big dividends Saturday for Eisenhower against Rich East.

The Cardinals returned two fumbles for touchdowns and converted two 52-yard touchdown passes that resulted in a 30-25 win over host Rich East in Park Forest.

It’s the first time in six seasons Eisenhower opened the season with a win over the Rockets.

“I’m so proud of the guys,” said Eisenhower quarterback Dion Parker, his eyes filled with tears. “They kept beating us every year. It means a lot to me to be on an Eisenhower team that beat Rich East.”

Early on, it appeared the Rockets were going to hand the Cardinals another loss.

Berwyn Causey scored three touchdowns, covering 37, 1 and 20 yards, in staking Rich East to a 19-0 lead with 11:16 left in the second quarter.

However, Eisenhower returned two fumbles for touchdowns in a 16-second span to get back in the game. Josh Akin scooped up a Causey fumble and returned it 12 yards for a score. Ramiro Lagunas added the PAT kick that cut the gap to 19-7 at 4:28 of the second quarter.

On the first play of the Rockets’ next possession, the Cards’ Kieron Swain scooped up another fumble and returned it 40 yards for the score at 4:16. Parker (7-of-13, 137 yards) then hit Lonnell Hill with a 2-point conversion pass, and just like that the Rockets’ lead was trimmed to 19-15 at halftime.

Defense was Eisenhower’s best offense — at least up to that point.

“We just needed to make a play,” Swain said. “Josh helped us out big time, and that gave us some momentum.”

That momentum carried into the second half.

Parker had two 52-yard touchdown passes in the third quarter. He hooked up with Swain on the first play of the period, with to make it Josue Leal’s point-after kick making it 22-19. On the Cardnals’ ensuing possession, Parker hit Hill for another score and 30-19 advantage after the 2-point conversion at 5:15 of the third.

“We made some adjustments at the half and I knew I was going to be wide open on the seam,” Swain said.

Hill made several moves to avoid Rockets defenders before turning on the jets to reach pay dirt.

“Me and Lonnell having been playing together since we were on the (Blue Island) Untouchables,” Parker said of their youth football team. “We have so much chemistry. We know what each other is going to do.”

Rich East closed to within 30-25 on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Joshua Lumpkin to Tyler McGregory at 4:10 of the third quarter.

The Cardinals defense, led by E.K. Enwaezeapu, Tramaine Franklin, Vincent Colbert, Alec Esparza and Swain, made the lead stand up. A pair of fake punts that resulted in gains of 35 and six yards by Vince Colbert (8 carries, 67 yards) were big momentum-builders for Eisenhower.

“It’s a great feeling to finally start out 1-0,” said Cardinals coach Travis Moore, in his seventh season. “We never stopped believing, even when we were down 19-0. This is a great group of kids. I’m proud of them.”

Causey finished with 54 yards on 10 carries. Rich East was held to 137 yards of total offense.



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