MARENGO – After scoring on its opening possession and forcing a three-and-out against Richmond-Burton, Marengo was poised to take a two-score lead against the No. 3-ranked Class 4A team in the state.
The Rockets, however, had other plans. With Marengo driving on R-B’s 4, defensive lineman Jacob Gray poked the ball loose from an Indians ball carrier at the Rockets’ 7-yard line and teammate Steven Siegel jumped on the ball.
After getting the ball back, the Rockets drove 93 yards the other way and scored their first touchdown on a 1-yard run by fullback Brock Wood. On the next possession, speedy wingback Landon Jacoby hooked up with quarterback Joe Miller for a 53-yard touchdown catch, and the Rockets never trailed again.
Richmond-Burton went on to beat the Indians, 42-24, to earn the Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 Blue Division title. The Rockets (9-0, 6-0) enter the postseason with a state-best 29-game winning streak.
“I know we needed to make a play at that point,” Rockets coach Mike Noll said of stopping the Indians on their second possession. “They had all the momentum, and we needed somebody to step up and make a play, and we did.
“Marengo is very good. Their quarterback [Josh Holst] is very good. I think we hung in there OK.”
The Rockets held the Indians to a field goal the rest of the first half and took a 21-10 lead into the break. They opened the second half with a 14-play, 65-yard drive that took up more than eight minutes off the clock, with Siegel scoring from 3 yards out.
After Jacoby had an interception against Holst at the end of the third, he scored immediately on a 58-yard run down the sideline on the first play of the fourth for a 35-10 lead.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” Noll said. “You can’t ask for a better regular season. If you would have told me in the summer that they were gonna be 9-0, I would have said, ‘Yeah, right.’ This group has achieved at a high level.
“To go 9-0 with a pretty tough schedule and beat some pretty good teams along the way, including this team [Marengo], is pretty special.”
Jacoby said this group has come a long way.
“We’re really small compared to past teams we had here, and it’s just been a different situation,” Jacoby said. “We lost a bunch of starters. It’s been hard but we’ve done it. We did it [went 9-0] and we’re proud, and we have more to go.”
Wood led the Rockets with 163 yards rushing on 29 carries, including TD runs of 1 and 3 yards. Siegel added 105 yards and two TDs (3 and 58 yards). Jacoby had 83 yards rushing and a score, and totaled 136 yards on six touches. Miller completed two of his three passes for 98 yards and one TD.
Holst was 17-of-27 passing for 303 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Logan Miller posted 143 yards receiving on eight catches, and Stolz (51 rushing yards, 10 carries) had three catches for 46 yards and a score.
Stolz hauled in a 35-yard pass from Holst to make it 42-17 with 9:02 to go. Holst then scored from 24 yards out on a quarterback keeper, avoiding a sack, with 6:32 remaining to make it 42-24 for the final score.
Siegel, who also was a standout on defense with 2 1/2 sacks, said there’s a lot more to be done in the postseason.
“We’re feeling really good, and hopefully our team can continue this streak going into the playoffs,” Siegel said. “I think we’re going to get a good [postseason] seed [tomorrow], and hopefully we’ll have a lot more home games.”
Richmond-Burton 42, Marengo 24
Richmond-Burton 7 14 7 14 – 42
Marengo 7 3 0 14 – 24
Mgo–Miller 20 pass from Holst (Burley kick), 9:34
R-B–Wood 1 run (Lehn kick), 2:33
R-B–Jacoby 53 pass from Miller (Lehn kick), 10:58
Mgo–Burley 31 FG, 7:45
R-B–Wood 3 run (Lehn kick), 2:27
R-B–Siegel 3 run (Lehn kick), 3:26
R-B–Jacoby 58 run (Lehn kick), 11:56
Mgo–Stolz 35 pass from Holst (Burley kick), 9:13
R-B–Siegel 58 run (Lehn kick), 9:02
Mgo–Holst 24 run (Burley kick), 6:32
RUSHING–Richmond-Burton: Wood 29-163, Siegel 11-105, Jacoby 5-83, Slove 2-13, Team 6-minus 13. Total: 53-352. Marengo: Stolz 10-51, Holst 5-74, Team 3-minus 28. Total: 18-97.
PASSING–Richmond-Burton: J. Miller 2-3-0-98. Marengo: Holst: 17-27-2-303.
RECEIVING–Richmond-Burton: Jacoby 1-53, Uhwat 1-45. Marengo: L. Miller 8-143, Aubry 2-40, Kentgen 2-38, Meyer 2-36, Stolz 3-46.
TOTAL YARDS: Richmond-Burton 450, Marengo 400