Eisenhower football hands Hart its first loss of season

SANTA CLARITA — After winning its first three games to open the 2023 season, the Hart High football team fell to Eisenhower 35-21 on Friday.

Hart opened the game recovering an onside kick to take possession near midfield. In what was Hart’s main issue for the night, they were unable to capitalize on the opportunity with good field position as quarterback Timmy Larkins threw an interception a couple plays later.

Larkins had two interceptions on Hart’s two first possessions. Eisenhower had the first score of the game at the end of the first quarter on a 33-yard touchdown run from Jacoby Pointer-Caldwell. Pointer-Caldwell also had two interceptions in the game.

Hart was able to tie the game at early in the second quarter on a 7-yard touchdown run from Zach Rogozik. Eisenhower regained the lead in the middle of the second quarter on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Ruiz to Dashaun Benton.

Larkins had his third interception of the game before halftime and Pointer-Caldwell had his second interception of the game to end another possession as Eisenhower took a 14-7 lead into the halftime break.

Hart tied the game 14-14 on its first drive of the second half when Chris Clauss scored on a 56-yard touchdown run. Clauss finished the game with 13 carries for 100 yards and one touchdown.

Ruiz found Benton for another touchdown pass and also had a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jamari Brown to give Eisenhower a 28-14 lead through three quarters. Ruiz finished the game 8 of 16 for 140 yards with three touchdown passes and one interception.

Hart cut the Eisenhower lead to 28-21 after a 7-yard touchdown run from Larkins at the beginning of the fourth quarter. On the Eisenhower drive after the Larkins score, Ruiz had a pass intercepted by Hart’s Parker Maxwell to give Hart the ball at the 50 while trailing 28-21.

On the Hart possession following the Maxwell interception, Larkins was hit late out of bounds and Eisenhower was also given a sideline warning to set Hart up at the Eisenhower 7 yard line.

Hart couldn’t take advantage of the Eisenhower miscues. Hart suffered a delay of game penalty on third and goal and then Larkins was sacked on fourth and goal from the 11-yard line to give Eisenhower the ball back with under three minutes remaining in the game.

Eisenhower tailback Bernardo Blanco scored on a 74-yard touchdown run for Eisenhower to make the final score 35-21 with under two minutes left in the game. Larkins also threw his fourth interception of the game to Eisenhower’s Jayden Jackson on the final play from scrimmage.

Larkins finished the game 21 of 29 with 252 yards passing with one rushing touchdown. Hart receiver Shawn Irwin had 10 catches for 167 yards.

Hart will have a bye week next week and then start Foothill League play when they take on Golden Valley. Eisenhower will take on Elsinore next week.

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