Illinois High School Football News

Explosive start for Marengo not enough in loss to Rochelle

Indians trailed 28-27 at half before being shut out over final 2 quarters

Marengo quarterback Josh Holst looks to throw as running back Joseph Leibrandt eyes a blocker.

MARENGO – An explosive offensive start for Marengo faded during the second half of Friday’s Interstate 8/Kishwaukee River Conference Blue Division matchup against Rochelle.

Quarterback Josh Holst shined in the first half, throwing for three touchdowns while rushing for another as the Indians trailed the Hubs 28-27 entering the second half, where the Rochelle defense held Marengo scoreless over its final four offensive drives to hand the Indians a 48-27 loss.

Holst totaled 284 yards on 24-of-31 passing while adding 75 rushing yards to lead the Marengo offense. The Indians (3-3, 2-2 I-8/KRC Blue) host Kaneland next Friday.

“We wanted to take this game into the fourth quarter and keep it close,” Marengo coach Paul Forsythe said. “We did that, but our wheels fell off near the end. We had a turnover and a play near the end of the game where our quarterback went down and we had to punt the ball away.”

Rochelle (5-1, 3-0 I-8/KRC Blue) edged Marengo 41-32 in a back-and-forth battle last season, and with both teams combining for over 1,000 yards on Friday, it appeared that this year’s matchup could fall the same way. The Hubs received the opening kickoff and quickly moved down the field, scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run from Erich Metzger to take the early lead.

The Indians answered on their opening drive, with Holst finding receiver Carter Heimsoth for a 7-yard touchdown in the corner of the endzone. Running back Garrett Gensler, who rushed for 316 yards and three touchdowns on Friday, broke off a 36-yard scoring run on the next Hub series to keep the seesaw affair going.

Marengo struck back near the end of the first quarter, scoring on a 28-yard touchdown throw over the middle from Holst to receiver Logan Miller.

The Indians missed their first two extra-point attempts, allowing Rochelle to maintain a 14-12 lead entering the second quarter, where running back Trey Taft knifed through Marengo’s defense for a 10-yard touchdown rush to keep the Hubs moving.

Needing another answer on offense, Marengo leaned on its standout quarterback Holst, who connected with receiver Gregory Baker on an 18-yard touchdown pass before completing a two-point conversion to tie the score at 20-all.

Marengo’s first defensive stand came midway through the second quarter, where Rochelle moved the ball to the 5-yard line before consecutive run stops and an incomplete pass on fourth down allowed the Indians to take over possession. A 72-yard, catch-and-run for tight end Brennen Kentgen set up a 4-yard touchdown run from Holst that gave Marengo its first lead.

“I was happy with our fourth-down stop on that drive,” Forsythe said. “That was a huge turning point for us, but we weren’t able to score before the half and we weren’t able to score to start the second half. We have a lot of youth on defense and we’re going to keep coaching them up.”

Trailing for the first time, Rochelle needed only four plays to retake control, with Gensler breaking loose once again for a 35-yard touchdown run before Metzger barreled forward for the two-point conversion to give the Hubs a one-point lead, which stood at halftime.

Marengo ran 15 plays on its opening drive of the second half, but a fourth-down near fumble that resulted in an illegal forward pass ended the Indians’ scoring threat deep inside the Rochelle red zone.

The Hubs capitalized on the defensive stand, with Gensler cutting through the Indian defense for a 76-yard run down the middle and scoring on a 1-yard rush two plays later.

Rochelle corner Aidan Rodriguez forced Marengo’s first turnover of the game, breaking up a pass that safety Grant Gensler snagged in the air for an interception. The Hubs turned the Indian mistake into points, with Grant Gensler rushing for an 18-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

“They scored off of our turnover, which was a huge moment because we were going into the end zone and that would’ve been a 14-point swing,” Forsythe said. “Our offense has been pretty good all year, but they have a pretty good offense too and we’re going to keep plugging away.”

Rochelle totaled 582 rushing yards and averaged 11.6 yards per play, while Marengo finished with 455 total yards.