BURLINGTON – The Burlington Central football team kept its playoff hopes alive by beating Marengo 27-0 Friday night at Rocket Hill.
The Rockets also got their offense back on track in the Big Northern Conference East Division contest. Central exploded for a season high of 429 yards of total offense. Casey Matthews and Reilly Marino accounted for 303 of those yards. The team averaged only 211 yards in its first five games of the season.
Matthews, who played at tailback most of the night, totaled 177 yards on 14 carries, including two touchdown runs of 49 and 71 yards.
Marino ran 17 times for 136 yards and scored a TD on a 37-yard run.
“We move the ball better,” said Central coach Rich Crabel. “Some of that has to do with the fact that we played a team that wasn’t a lot bigger than us up front. We faired a little bit better than we have in the past few games.”
The Rockets’ defense limited the Indians (0-6, 0-4) to less than 100 yards and four first downs. Central defenders also picked off two of Zach Knobloch’s passes.
“If we take care of the football, our defense generally plays pretty well,” Crabel said. “Because the offense was more productive tonight and that’s going to turn around and help the defense.”
Miscues plagued Central (2-4, 2-2) during the first quarter. Their first two drives ended with two fumbles.
The Rockets scored at the 8:13 mark in the second quarter on Matthews’ 49-yard run. The senior also put the ball through the uprights on the PAT to give Central a 7-0.
The Rockets’ defense forced a fumble on Marengo’s next possession. Central capitalized on the turnover with a 6-play drive that ended with the 37-yard Marino TD run giving the Rockets a 13-0 half time lead.
Central extended their lead to 19-0 with a minute left in the third quarter. Quarterback Parth Patel lateraled to Matthews, who threw a 26-yard strike to Kyle Coffland. Patel completed 9 of 16 pass attempts for 96 yards.
Matthews’ 71-yard run seven minutes into the fourth quarter scored the final touchdown.
“Our linemen block great on that play,” said Matthews. “I was really impressed with them.”
The Rockets need to win their next three games to remain eligible for the postseason. Central travels to conference rival Richmond-Burton next Friday.
Rock Falls (home) and North Boone (away) will be the Rockets’ last two regular-season opponents.
“We can still be 5-4 and our points will probably be a little better than they were last year,” Crabel said about the Rockets’ playoff prospects. “Next week will be as big test with Richmond, they got some very talented kids.”
CENTRAL 27 MARENGO 0
MARENGO 0 0 0 0
CENTRAL 0 13 6 8
HOW THEY SCORED
C - Matthews 49 run (Matthews kick ) 8:13
C - Marino 37 run (two point conversion failed) 6:38
C – Coffland 26 pass from Matthews (two point conversion failed) 1:13
C- Matthews 71 run (two point conversion Napiorkowski pass from Parth) 5:23
RUSHING – Marengo: Jackson 22-44, Gara 4-14, Knoblock 6 – (-52). Kissack 1-7. Totals 35-13 Central: Marino 17-136, Matthews 14-177, Parth 4 – (-14), Davison 3-6. Sanson 1- (-2). Total 39-307.
PASSING – Marengo:Knoblock 4-16-0- 38 Central: Parth 9-16-0-96, Matthews 1-2-1-26.
RECEIVING –Marengo: Kunde 1-5, Rondorf 1-26, Jackson 1-(-5), Klick 1-12. Total 4-38 Central: Davison 1-8, napiorkowski 2-52, Matthews 2-28, Marino 1 – (-2) Coffland 3-46 Total 10-122
TOTAL OFFENSE – Marengo 51, Central 429
SOPHOMORE GAME – Central 14, Marengo 7