Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 10/14/2016 11:46 PM

Burlington Central stuns Marengo

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By Ken Tillotson

Burlington Central proved that records can be deceiving.

Entering with just one victory, the Rockets thoroughly outclassed a Marengo squad that was looking to punch its ticket to the playoffs.

BC's swarming defense held Marengo without a first down for over two and a half quarters while sophomore quarterback Johnny DiCostanzo threw for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns in a convincing 38-7 Kishwaukee River Valley road victory Friday night.

"I have to give everything to the line up front. They played their best game of the year and everything went from there," DiCostanzo said. "We ran the ball early and then we aired it out."

"We've been progressively playing better, but it's hard to tell an 0-5 football team that they are actually good," said Rockets coach Brian Melvin. "We beat Woodstock and gave one away last week, but tonight was our best all-around game."

It was also a triumphant debut for Rockets junior wide receiver Michael Kalusa, who grabbed 5 passes for 205 yards and a pair of scores, including a juggling catch at midfield that turned into a 96-yard touchdown and extended the lead to 31-0 at halftime.

"That's my job to run straight up the field and make plays," Kalusa said. "It's amazing to get back out here. I just want to thank Johnny and the line for everything."

"You can see what Michael does for our offense. It just opens everything up for us," Melvin said.

The Rockets (2-6, 2-3) played a perfect first half, leading 18-0 just over four minutes into the contest.

James Fay spun into the end zone from 3 yards out on BC's opening series then scooped up a Marengo fumble on the ensuing kickoff and scampered 25 yards untouched for a score.

After Ryan Doubek recovered another Indians fumble, Dionte Smith (18 carries, 105 yards) broke off a 36-yard touchdown run up the middle.

The Rockets defense, led by Erik Hansen, who recorded a pair of sacks, limited Marengo (5-3, 2-3) to 29 yards on 21 plays in the first half. Jarren Jackson, who entered the game with 987 rushing yards, gained just 18 yards on his first 9 carries.

"The defense has been our backbone all year," Kalusa said.

DiCostanzo connected with Kalusa on a 31-yard scoring strike on 4th-and-7 for a 25-0 lead and Fay capped BC's scoring with a 17 yard reception on the opening drive of the second half.

"I like that we're doing this against teams that are prominent," Melvin said. "I love these guys and we're building this program by doing the right things on and off the field."

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