Rock Falls has one shutout win since 1997. It came in 2008. The Rockets came very close to getting another the last time they saw Marengo.
It was Week 2 last season, and Rock Falls was mired in a 15-game losing streak. But, that night the Rockets were in control and cruised to a 20-3 road win over the Indians.
"It was one of our best games. We were tired of losing," said Rock Falls senior running back/linebacker Brendon LeBarron, who totaled 120 yards and had a 60-yard TD reception in the game. "I think it's going to happen again this year."
The teams meet again Friday night at Hinders Field. Both are 0-1 – Rock Falls falling 47-16 at home to Harvard, while Marengo was edged 13-10 at Mendota.
Last season, the Rockets outgained the Indians 380-243. Marengo rushed for 187 yards and passed for 56.
"Our defensive line got through and our linebackers came through," senior defensive back Tanner Mortonson said. "They couldn't really pass the ball, because we had such a good secondary last year."
"We did our assignments like we were supposed to," first-year head coach and then-assistant Scott Berge said of last year's Marengo win. "It was a pretty simple assignment package we put in, and the kids really bought into it and attacked it."
Things did not go according to plan for Rock Falls in the opening lopsided loss.
"I think I had us a little bit underprepared for what we were going to see," Berge admitted. "We didn't get the result we wanted, so it's back to the drawing board and see what happens in Week 2."
The Rockets are ready to bounce back, and are specifically ready for Marengo.
"I remember them running a lot up the middle," Mortonson said. "They ran a lot of tight, so we're watching that again. Their quarterback likes to scramble, so we're making sure our ends are staying home."
Rock Falls is far from pressing the panic button after a disappointing Game 1.
"We're all still confident," LeBarron said. "We played sloppy on both sides of the ball. We should have done better."
Junior standout Matt Mammosser, an offensive lineman/linebacker, will be sidelined at least 3 weeks with a knee injury, according to Berge.
Marengo (0-1) at Rock Falls (0-1)
When: 7:15 p.m. Friday
Where: Hinders Field, Rock Falls
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Radio: 1240 AM