Milivojevic, St. Francis cruise past Marengo
Junior quarterback Alessio Milivojevic enjoyed a memorable first half for St. Francis Friday night.
Milivojevic completed 8 of 10 passes for 272 yards and 5 touchdowns while also finding the end zone on a 1-yard keeper during the Spartans' 56-0 first-half onslaught against visiting Marengo at Kuhn Memorial Field.
Scoring on their first nine possessions, the third-seeded Spartans (9-1) cruised to a 63-0 victory over Marengo (5-5) in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs in Wheaton.
"We had a great week of practice," said Spartans coach Bob McMillen. "We knew (Marengo) had been battle tested with some of the schools they played, Richmond-Burton and Rochelle, so we knew we had to be prepared.
"Except for that first drive, we did an excellent job of containing their quarterback (Marengo's Josh Holst). He's one of the better quarterbacks in the state. I can't say enough about our boys."
A 24-yard run by Holst and a 26-yard run from tailback Joe Liebrandt enabled the Indians to reach the red zone on their initial possession, but a 30-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left, ending the drive.
One play later, Milivojevic handed off to senior Dash Dorsey, who took off down the left sideline on an electrifying 80-yard touchdown run to give the Spartans a quick 7-0 lead.
"That was amazing," Milivojevic said of Dorsey's long TD run. "I did not expect that."
Milivojevic tossed a 31-yard TD pass to Deshaun Williams to make it 14-0 before buying time in the pocket and delivering a 76-yard TD toss to Dorsey for a 21-0 first-quarter advantage.
"All week, we were preaching that the receivers needed space and separation," Milivojevic said. "The line had perfect protection almost every pass play."
The Spartans' offensive execution spilled into the second quarter, as Milivojevic connected with Zach Washington for touchdown passes of 22 and 25 yards, respectively, while also firing a 48-yard TD pass to Brady Piper right before halftime.
"We prepared very well for this game," Milivojevic said.
"We've got a pretty good kid of our own at quarterback," McMillen said of Milivojevic. "He was lights out tonight.
"I thought our offensive line did a great job of giving him protection to be able to make those throws downfield."
Danny French's 1-yard TD run midway through the third quarter closed the scoring. The Spartans earned a second-round home game against Evergreen Park (8-2) next weekend.
St. Francis outgained Marengo 618-84. Connor Shields finished with a pair of interceptions on the defensive side of the ball.
"This is the first step," Milivojevic said. "The goal for this team is to win state. One game is one game, but we must win four more to win it all."
Junior Corin Greenwell had a 49-yard kick return in the second half for Marengo.
"It has been an up and down season," said Marengo coach Paul Forsythe. "We talked in the locker room about how many different starting lineups we've had defensively this year.
"I'm proud of our kids. Our quarterback (Holst) smashed every school record. Sure, we wish it would've ended a little bit better (tonight). We could wipe it away or let it burn a bit and use it as motivation."