Marengo earns shut-out victory in 102nd meeting with Harvard

MARENGO – After a disappointing opening to the season that left a bad taste in their mouths, the Marengo Indians have begun to find their stride.

Marengo scored on its first five drives and held down a depleted Harvard squad all night in a 39-0 victory in the 102nd meeting of this historic rivalry.

Quarterback Josh Holst connected on his first seven passes – three of which were touchdown passes – as the Indians led big after one quarter and coasted to 3-1 overall, 2-0 in the Kishwaukee River/Interstate Eight White.

It’s a much different feel than after week 1′s 23-0 loss to Wilmington.

“I think we have a good chemistry going right now,” said receiver Collin Aubry, who caught two of those touchdown passes and amassed 111 yards on six receptions. “We found our stride after that first bad loss. When we can run the ball and hit them with the deep passes, it all flows.”

Holst and Aubry connected on consecutive deep touchdown throws, one of 29 yards and the other an impressive 34-yard strike across the middle. Exzavier Meyer also caught a 12-yard touchdown pass to close out a big 19-0 first quarter.

Holst, who added a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jack Heinberg, finished 11 of 20 for 144 yards.

The game then shifted to running back Dylan Stolz, who rushed for 155 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns.

It was a key performance for Marengo, which has a big road game next Friday at Morris.

Not to be lost in the shuffle was a pretty strong effort from the Marengo defense. Harvard (1-3, 0-1) came into the game as one of the top rushing teams in the area but was held to just 99 yards for the game, 69 of which came from Eduardo Flores’ 18 carries.

The Hornets never crossed the 50-yard line.

“I know they lost a couple of kids during the game that really were difference-makers for them, but I thought our front played really well stopping the fullback,” Marengo coach Paul Forsythe said. “We got the shutout, and that’s always a nice thing.”

The first quarter was rough for Harvard, not only on the scoreboard. The Hornets also lost several key players to injury in the early going. Bailey Livdahl left the game after just three carries, and quarterback Lee Galarza also exited with an injury, which crushed Harvard.

Besides being short-handed, Harvard had difficulties holding onto the football, turning the ball over four times, including three on fumbles.

“We had a lot of guys go down to injuries in the first two series, coach Sean Saylor said. “We were patchwork at all the backs and quarterback. It was rough.

“We talk about the 24-hour rule, win or lose. We want to treat our wins and losses the same. We want to get something from it and get better. We will let our kids lick their wounds for the night and move on to tomorrow.”