Marengo’s early lead short-lived

MARENGO – The Marengo football team’s big surprise started well, but wore off quickly.

The Indians moved tailback John Lesiak, the area’s leading rusher, to quarterback and spread out their formations to open the game. The new offense gave Marengo a 45-yard run on a double reverse by Casey Doyle on their first play, and four plays later Lesiak scored on an 11-yard run.

But Burlington Central didn’t panic and made the right adjustments, and Marengo struggled to move the ball the rest of the game, falling 28-6 in the Big Northern Conference East Division matchup.

Marengo coach Matt Lynch said the decision to move Lesiak, who had played quarterback previously, was a chance to spark their offense.

“[Lesiak] is our best running back. He’s our best quarterback,” Lynch said. “It wasn’t working before so we just decided to change it up to give us an opportunity offensively. We knew they wouldn’t be prepared for it, and we came out and capitalized on the first drive.”

After gaining 78 yards on their first drive, the Indians (1-5, 0-4) were stifled by Burlington’s defense, gaining only 16 yards the rest of the half, and gaining only 28 total yards in the second half.

Rockets coach Rich Crabel said his team wasn’t prepared for the offense at all, but a few minor adjustments with linebackers Reilly Marino, Kyle Coffland and Cole Roach was the key to stopping the Indians.

“We gave them a little freedom after they started doing that, so when we let them go that’s going to change the dynamic,” Crabel said. “We started coming off the edge. We just played it a little better.”

The Indians struggled with field position, with six of their nine drives coming inside their own 30-yard line after the initial scoring drive. Marengo got past the 50-yard line only twice.

“We only ran 38 offensive plays. They ran 60. You can’t win football games like that,” Lynch said.

An interception by Ibrahim Sanson gave the Rockets (5-1, 4-0) the ball at Marengo’s 20-yard line in the first quarter, and five plays later Marino scored from four yards out. Burlington started to break open the game on their next possession when quarterback Tyler Majewski hit Joe Breeden for a 58-yard touchdown.

Majewski only completed a third of his passes, going 5 of 15, but totaled 154 yards with his shortest completion at 12 yards.

Lesiak went 2-10 for 30 yards and added 41 yards on 16 carries, with Doyle adding 44 yards on five carries.