ROCHELLE — Marengo coach Paul Forsythe commented that the Indians had several injured players in street clothes during their Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 Blue Division matchup against Rochelle on Friday.
Those injuries proved to be a major factor for the Indians, who conceded nearly 500 total yards in a lopsided 47-0 road loss to the Hubs.
“We have to get some guys healthy and we have a lot of young players out there,” Forsythe said. “Those guys have to get used to the speed of a varsity game and doing that against a team like Rochelle or some of the teams we have coming up is a challenge. But our kids are resilient and I think they will bounce back.
“We know we can play better defense and we know that we can run the ball a lot more effectively. We didn’t really see either of those things tonight.”
Rochelle (4-2, 3-0 KRC/I-8 Blue) needed only three plays to find the end zone, scoring after tailback Grant Gensler took a toss outside for a 44-yard touchdown run.
Marengo (3-3, 2-2 I-8/KRC Blue) moved the ball well on its opening drive, with quarterback David Lopez completing a 12-yard pass to Grant Aubry before finding Ryan Grismer for a 17-yard gain. The Indians entered the red zone, but an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-6 down stalled the drive.
The Hubs capitalized on their defensive stand, with Gensler exploding for a 72-yard rush that set up a 2-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead midway through the opening quarter.
Rochelle scored again after quarterback Carson Lewis tossed a 27-yard pass to wide receiver Tommy Tourdot, which set up Gensler’s 5-yard touchdown run. Gensler finished with 152 rushing yards.
“We have to commit to getting better as a program,” Forsythe said. “We need to do the right things all of the time and we need to get better. We were outmatched tonight and we knew that we were limping into this game. I told our kids after the game that we have to keep scraping.”
Marengo was forced to punt on its second and third drives after a promising opening series. The Hubs took advantage of quality field position midway through the second quarter, where a 28-yard punt return from Gensler led to an 11-yard touchdown run from tailback Elijah Harley. The Indians nearly found their answer late in the first half, moving the ball deep into Rochelle territory, but a sequence with three incomplete passes stymied the team’s momentum.
Rochelle took a 34-0 lead near the end of the first half, turning another defensive stand into points when freshman wingback Dylan Manning burst through the left side for a 7-yard rushing touchdown. The Hub offense finished with 495 total yards, while the defense limited Marengo to only 151 total yards in the game. Despite controlling the ball for nearly 27 minutes, the Indians struggled to move the chains, going 4 of 14 on third downs and 1-for-6 on fourth downs.
Running back Isaac Anthony shouldered the load for the Indians, carrying the ball 22 times for 63 yards. Lopez completed 10 of 23 passes for 60 yards.
Aubry and Brayden Kentgen were the leading tacklers for Marengo, with each player totaling seven.