HARVARD – The ball didn't go where Marengo's Finn Schirmer wanted it to go, but it all worked out for the Indians on Friday night in a 40-0 Kishwaukee River Conference win over Harvard.
On fourth-and-8 on the team's opening drive, Indians coach Paul Forsythe called a trick play the team worked on again and again in practice to little success.
Schirmer took the handoff from quarterback Travis Knaak, and as the defense collapsed on Schirmer, he unloaded a pass down the right sideline that wide receiver Cole Davis grabbed for a 32-yard score.
Schirmer's heave was intended for Aaron Shepard, but the ball was underthrown and Davis stepped in front of Shepard and walked in for the score.
"I was looking at Aaron Shepard the whole way," Schirmer said. "The ball did not go where I wanted it to, but it landed in our team's hands, so that's all that matters. ... Cole Davis is always coming up clutch."
The touchdown pass, the first of Schirmer's career, was the start of a big night for the the 6-foot-2, 195-pound running back. He added touchdowns runs of 9, 8 and 60 yards and finished with 187 yards on 22 carries. Schirmer also had an interception on defense.
Forsythe said the play did not work all that great in practice, but Schirmer was excited to run it anyway.
"Our sweep is one of our better plays, and we know that Harvard knows that," Forsythe said. "We worked on it all week, and it looked terrible. ... We saw the iPad replay on the sideline, and it looked kind of goofy, but the kids found a way to make a play."
Davis finished with eight catches for 86 yards and two touchdowns, grabbing a 6-yard score in the third quarter. Knaak was 11 of 20 through the air for 129 yards and two scores. He added 73 yards rushing.
"It's a totally new experience for me," Davis said of playing on varsity for the first time as a sophomore. "Under the lights, all the crowd, it's awesome. This is a great win. To be honest, I don't really like Harvard."
Marengo's defense held the Hornets (0-3, 0-1) to 149 total yards, while Marengo finished with 418. Dylan Perkins was the leading rusher for Harvard with 35 yards. QB Jacob Stanley had 43 yards passing, and Gavin Perkins had four catches for 31 yards.
The Indians (2-1, 1-0) led, 20-0, at halftime and scored on their first chance in the third quarter with Knaak hitting Colton Lohff for a 9-yard score.
Indians offensive linemen Jagger Ferden, Danny Schenk, Landon Oine, Blake Heinberg and Sean Trainor helped pave the way for a rushing attack that finished with 257 yards on 36 carries.
Marengo has won four straight games against Harvard.
"I think we came out aggressive," Schirmer said. "We know this a rivalry game. We wanted to show them that we are here to play. We're coming together. We weren't sure how the season was going to go. We're going to keep working our butts off and giving 110 percent. That's our goal."
STAR OF THE GAME
Finn Schirmer, Marengo, jr., RB-DB
Schirmer ran for 187 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns, including a 60-yarder in the fourth quarter. He opened the scoring with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Cole Davis, the first touchdown pass of his career.
Marengo 13 7 14 6 – 40
Harvard 0 0 0 0 – 0
M-Davis 32 pass from Schirmer (kick missed), 4:49
M-Schirmer 9 run (Shepard kick), 0:00
M-Schirmer 8 run (Shepard kick), 5:29
M-Lohff 9 pass from Knaak (Shepard kick), 10:24
M-Davis 6 pass from Knaak (Shepard kick), 2:55
M-Schirmer 60 run (kick blocked), 11:05