MARENGO – Marengo’s four-point lead in the third quarter might have seemed a bit precarious as Coal City, without much offensive production, managed to hang close.
The Indians, however, were not overly concerned.
“There was no doubt in our minds we were going to take this game,” tight end-defensive end Colton Wightman said. “We’ve prepped all week for it. We’ve been playing together 10 or 12 years now, we just know each other and we have each others’ backs.”
Marengo’s defense did not allow another first down, while the offense punched in two more scores and the Indians grabbed a 28-10 Class 4A playoff victory at Rod Poppe Fields Friday night, their first playoff win since 1997.
“Our offense didn’t have our best night, but we still executed,” Wightman said. “It’s 28-10, it’s a playoff game, it’s a good win.”
No. 2-seeded Marengo (10-0) advances to the second round against the winner between No. 10 Ridgewood and No. 7 Plano, which play on Saturday. If Plano wins, Marengo will host next week.
The Indians struck quickly in the first quarter with a pair of 80-yard touchdown passes from quarterback Zach Knobloch, one each to Jarrell Jackson and Craiton Nice. Jackson juked two defenders on a short pass, then blazed down the left sideline for his score.
Marengo rolled up 484 total yards, but could not finish drives for much of the second and third quarters. No. 15 Coal City (5-5) got a 33-yard field goal from Brad Littleton in the third quarter to cut the lead to 14-10. The Coalers did not get close to scoring again.
“It feels great,” Jackson said. “We played a little rough at first, but we finished. That’s all that matters. That was a great experience. We knew if we played how we play, we’d be all right.”
The Indians’ defense limited Coal City to 138 total yards.
“We’re a good defensive team,” Indians coach Matt Lynch said. “Our defense doesn’t get the credit it deserves sometimes because our offense is so good. We’ve played solid defense all year.”
Jackson caught another scoring pass from Knobloch, a 5-yarder, late in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Indians slowed down their fast-paced offense and covered most of its last drive with running back Kyle Gara, who scored from 1 yard out with 3:38 to go.
Coalers coach Lenny Onsen was proud his team kept it close for a while.
“[Marengo] swarms to the ball very well,” Onsen said. “They’re athletic, with good quickness. We’d make a play here or there. They have some good athletes out there who made some good plays.”
Marengo, Junior, Defensive Back
Mier played an integral role in a defense that limited Coal City to 138 total yards and six first downs, only one in the second half, as the Indians won, 28-10.
The 80-yard passing touchdowns Marengo quarterback Zach Knobloch threw in the first quarter, one to Jarrell Jackson and one to Craiton Nice.
AND ANOTHER THING ...
Marengo defensive back Danny Martinez was injured on a block in the third quarter and taken from the game on a stretcher by the Marengo Rescue Squad. Martinez was airlifted to Rockford Memorial Hospital for precautionary reasons, according to athletic director Chad Olson. Olson said Martinez was moving and talking when he was taken from the field.
Marengo 28, Coal City 10
Coal City 0 7 3 0 – 10
Marengo 14 0 7 7 – 28
M–Jarrell Jackson 80 pass from Knobloch (Ramirez kick), 3:45.
M–Nice 80 pass from Knobloch (Ramirez kick), 1:39.
CC–Crawford 16 pass from Micetich (Littleton kick), 6:20.
CC–FG Littleton 33, 7:34.
M–Jarrell Jackson 5 pass from Knobloch (Ramirez kick), 1:07.
M–Gara 1 run (Ramirez kick), 3:39.
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Coal City: Norton 16-46, Micetich 9-17, Churnovic 2-9, Hayden 6-8, Jones 1-1, Arias 1-1, Starkey 4-1, Littleton 1-minus 9. Totals: 40-74. Marengo: Gara 13-68, Jarren Jackson 13-41, Jarrell Jackson 1-6, Knobloch 4-minus 21. Totals: 30-94. PASSING–Coal City: Micetich 6-13-0-64. Marengo: Knobloch 24-32-0-390. RECEIVING–Coal City: Johnson 2-35, Littleton 2-7, Crawford 1-16, Miller 1-6. Marengo: Nice 11-166, Jarrell Jackson 6-127, Roudabush 3-22, Olson 2-42, Jarren Jackson 2-13. TOTAL TEAM YARDS–Coal City 138, Marengo 484.