When the bell rings on the 2022 high school football season, Big Spring assistant coach Matt Eisenberg will look back and remember the little times with his son Ethan the most, from home movie study sessions to discussions during the practice drive.
But the Eisenbergs also wrote big moments for the Big Spring football program over two generations. Matt did it in the late 90s as a wide receiver, helping the Bulldogs build their most successful era up to that point. And Ethan, a senior who started for the Bulldogs since the middle of his sophomore year, led Big Spring to its first District 3 playoff win a season ago, a Class 4A first-round triumph over Conrad Weiser. .
While the accolades have piled up for both in their careers at Big Spring, no award or victory tops the opportunity they’ve had to share Bulldog football with each other over the past four years.
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“I don’t know,” Matt said, “just the little moments. I think I could probably look back and appreciate that, that we need to share them together and just be grateful for that.
Matt has been an assistant on the Bulldog staff for the past 10 seasons which gave Ethan the opportunity to be in football at a very young age. Ethan’s involvement centered around watching movies at home as a college kid and playing youth football under Matt, who also coached in the Big Spring power system.
Despite the differences in position, the communication between father and son is unwavering. Ethan said he was able to get advice and lessons from his dad during training and before kick-off on Friday night.
The transmission of knowledge also extends beyond the grill. Ethan considers Matt his greatest role model.
“I learned a lot from him with him being my dad,” Ethan said. “But specifically football, obviously he’s played before and he’s had success, and he kind of showed me how to do it… how to deal with the success you get with your ability. And just knowing d “where that comes from, and how to behave more off the pitch. Just be a good example and stay humble.
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Matt sees himself in Ethan a lot, from a consistent work ethic to his leadership qualities. Matt pursued a Hall of Fame career at Juniata College after his Bulldog days, leading the Eagle program in career receiving yards (3,500), touchdown receptions (38) and all-around yardage (5,421) .
Ethan, who has an offer from Juniata among other institutions, applied his father’s footballing sensibilities at quarterback, throwing for 1,751 yards and 23 touchdowns last year, including 20.1 yards per mark. ‘completion. He went through the air for 185 yards and a score last week in Big Spring’s 28-13 loss to Greencastle.
“It’s probably something other people told me,” Matt said, “but I guess they used the term, ‘He’s a player.’ Like, he’s a guy who plays while playing and makes plays in moments, and I think we’ve both had that in our careers so far.
Aside from the little moments off the pitch, they cherish the big moments.
The first district playoff victory in school history was the deepest, where Ethan led the Bulldogs to a 49-35 decision on the road. He had his grip on 220 passing yards and three touchdowns and ran for 64 yards. Other highlights included a 49-14 loss to defending state champion Steel-High at Bulldog Stadium and a 60-game trio against Halifax, Susquenita and James Buchanan.
Matt had a bird’s eye view of it all, standing in the coaches box across different stadiums.
“It’s been pretty special,” Matt said. “Because I obviously played here and coached here for about 10 years and the last four years, it’s just kind of a joy to be able to share that with my son. And on top of that being successful, because I care a lot about Big Spring as a school, as a community, and as a program, so being able to share some of the success with him has been really exciting for me. .
“And for me, that’s been really pretty cool,” Ethan said. “Because obviously having my dad as a coach is different from what a lot of kids do, but he kind of coached me all my life. So it’s been really nice just having that kind of different perspective than other kids might have.
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But at the end of the day, no historic win or memorable touchdown can match the little moments that Matt and Ethan have shared over the past four years.
“I would just say having the ability to interact with him as a coach during training, during the season and during games,” Ethan said, “and then after training he’s also my dad. … The relationship is different on the pitch and off the pitch.
Christian Eby is a sports reporter for The Sentinel and cumberlink.com. You can contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at: @eby_sports