The public address announcer at Aurora Central Catholic greeted fans with “Welcome back.”
It was unusual to hear. Then again, it was an unusual Monday afternoon for all parties.
The Chargers rallied for 2 touchdowns in the fourth quarter, overcoming an 11-point deficit to defeat Marengo 26-25 and run their record to 2-0 for the first time since 2002.
Aurora Central opened play Monday with a 6-0 lead in a game that began Saturday but was suspended until Labor Day because of Saturday’s inclement weather.
The game ended with an ugly scene between coaches in a shouting and shoving match at midfield. Cooler heads prevailed, at least until Marengo’s Matthew Lynch got going in the postgame.
“It was nothing they did to us,” Lynch said. “He thinks they are some great coaching staff and some great team and they are not. Clearly. We made the plays and the officials took us out of the game with those bogus calls. It was nothing they did to win this football game. It was all on us.”
Aurora Central coach Brian Casey preferred to keep his public comments on the game. He had plenty to be pleased about watching his team turn a 25-14 deficit with 10:40 remaining into a 26-25 lead on back-to-back Kyle Clechenko-to-Luke Dickerson touchdown strikes in a 22-second span.
“Our kids fought and that’s all you can ask them to do,” Casey said. “They made plays. We still need to sharpen a lot of things up.”
The game started Monday where Saturday’s game was suspended — with 7:47 left in the first quarter and the Chargers missing on a 2-point conversion attempt. Marengo (1-1) then grabbed the first of four lead changes when Colin Stewart scored on a 41-yard touchdown reception from Trace Hoeske.
Clechenko connected with Matt Nass for an 11-yard touchdown and ran in the 2-point conversion to put the Chargers up 14-7. Marengo scored again on John Lesiak’s 4-yard run to go into halftime trailing 14-13.
With a strong wind at its back Marengo dominated the third quarter. Lesiak’s 17-yard run gave Marengo a 19-14 lead, which became 25-14 on Hoeske’s second touchdown pass.
As it did much of the day, Aurora Central’s offense went three-and-out on the next series. Punter Michael O’Donnell helped change the momentum with a 61-yard boot, which coupled with 2 penalties pushed Marengo back to its 3-yard line.
“The punt changed the game,” Casey said. “We couldn’t get a lot going. Way too many penalties (13 for 79 yards).”
Javier Liz forced a fumble that Nick Holzer recovered. Three players later Clechenko hit Dickerson for a 13-yard TD bringing the Chargers within 25-19.
Marengo tried throwing into the wind on its next drive, and Anthony Andjuar’s diving interception gave the Chargers the ball back at their 43-yard line. Clechenko sent Dickerson deep again, and the two connected for the go-ahead score with 8:49 left.
“We just threw the ball deep,” Dickerson said. “I beat my man again and Kyle got me the ball.”
Marengo got the ball two more times, and on the second drive reached the Aurora Central 30 with 1:40 left in the game. A pass that would have given Marengo a first down was negated by a penalty, putting Marengo in a 3rd-and-25 hole. Two incompletions followed, the end of a 4-for-21 passing day for Hoeske.
Both offenses struggled — Marengo outgained the Chargers 223-194. A couple key special teams plays on Holzer’s long punt return and when Julian Rios snuffed out a fake punt helped give the Chargers short fields.
Clechenko finished 8-of-14 passing for 128 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions.
“I think we proved Kyle is quarterback,” Casey said. “Yes, he is the fourth running back in a double wing offense but the kid can throw the ball. He’s the quarterback in the area not getting any love whatsoever.”
The Chargers also announced they are moving this week’s game with Immaculate Conception from Friday night to Saturday at 5 p.m. That will give four Aurora Central starters who left Monday’s game with injuries another day to heal.
“We can’t come out here flat like this,” Dickerson said. “We wanted to come out here and play a bit better of game and make a statement. We’re happy to sneak out a win. We’ll have to come harder next week for IC.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.