MARENGO – Marengo did not have many good memories from the 2012 football season, so the Indians have chosen to take the short-memory approach.
“We don’t want to talk about last season, last season was yesterday’s news,” Marengo coach Matt Lynch said. “That’s cat litter and we know what to do with cat litter, right?”
The Indians struggled to a 1-8 mark, but if the spirit in last week’s practice serves as an indication, that hardly put a damper on this year’s preparations.
Marengo is more interested in looking to the opportunity ahead. Several of the starters return from last season with another year of varsity experience and more confidence.
“It’s going to be a great season,” senior Justin Velasquez said. “It’s my last year here and we have to show everyone what we’re made of. It’s what we have been working toward for four years.”
Velasquez is one of several players for Marengo who will make an impact on both sides of the ball. Most of the team is expected to learn and excel at two different positions right from the start. Velasquez is looking forward to both helping out on defense and working as a wide receiver for the offense.
Dustin Rondorf (TE-DE), Matt Pandocchi (RB-LB), Noah Klick (WR) and Coy Szaflarski (C-NG) are just some of the players Lynch expects to have a big season for the Indians. All are returning seniors who will also be a part of a collective leadership group this season.
“Our seniors are stepping up a lot more this year,” Velasquez said. “There’s a lot more leadership by just being good role models for the younger guys.”
It’s clear the team intends on competing with the best of Big Northern Conference this year. The Indians’ No. 1 goal is to compete as they try to build a winning program. Marengo’s last winning team, and last trip to the playoffs, was in 2004.
“We are trying to build a winner, and we’re going to get there by continuing to work hard and compete,” Lynch said. “Every new season is another opportunity to compete and do better.”
The team is expecting a boost from some new players this season, which includes junior quarterback Ethan Walsweer leading the offense.
Lynch says Walsweer has shown potential early on in practice and is throwing the ball well.
Joining Walsweer as players who will be getting more minutes this year are Kyle Gara (G- MLB), Dakota Kissack (RB-SS), Brandon Temple (WR-SS) and Benjamin Ryan (G-DT). Gara and Temple are sophomores.
Marengo won its opener last year, 21-7, over Mendota, then lost the next eight games. The Indians open again with Mendota, this time on the road.
The Indians are prepared and motivated to make sure that the first win of the season this time around is not the only win.
“It’s football season time. If I wasn’t excited, I wouldn’t be here,” Lynch said. “I love this. I love playing in this league and to have a chance to win every single week is something I look forward to. This is truly a special sport.”