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Father and Son Share Football Titles

Marengo Academy now has its first championship family. Coach Darryl Jones was on the MA football squad in 1980 when the team beat Sumter Academy for the championship and his son Wayne played in Friday’s title game against Wilcox Academy for MA’s first football championship in 11 years.

Coach Jones has been a volunteer coach with the Longhorns for about 12 years. He was a Jr. lineman when he played on the 1980 championship game and he coached his son Wayne in Troy when MA took the title.

“We were 7-3 for the season in 1980. We beat Monroe in the first round of playoffs and we beat Sumter Academy 10-7 for the title that year,” he recalled.

While coach Jones has fond football memories that he admits to sharing with his son over the years, he said he didn’t realize they would share a championship ring until after last Friday’s game.

“I never even thought about it. It didn’t occur to me until after the game last Friday. I had talked to him about my experiences of winning the title and told him it was a feeling he’d never forget but it doesn’t compare to this,” he said of them both sharing in the championship game.

Friday’s game was held at Troy State University and Coach Jones said it was a true nail bitter.

“They were all real nervous on the field and we made some mistakes early in the first half, mostly from the jitters,” he said, “but they settled down and Coach (Jesse) Little reminded them of their fundamentals during half time and from them on they were able to concentrate on the game plan.”

The MA Longhorns have built their season on the “never quit” philosophy. Jones said this is a team “that just will not quit” and the winning tradition from Marengo along with support from the community play a great part in the team’s overall success.

“We had tremendous fan support at the game. People from Marengo County came to the game to support us. After the game they all come down from the stands onto the field. It took a long time to meet everybody. They all wanted to congratulate us and wish us well,” he said.

The community support didn’t end in Troy. Jones said when the team returned to Marengo County, they went to the courthouse for the traditional photos and congratulations.

“That was the thing they were all looking forward to; the courthouse steps,” Jones said.

It has been a long standing tradition at Marengo Academy whenever a team wins a title game, they come home to the courthouse steps in Linden where family and fans await them to offer congratulations. Just as Jones met his friends and fans in 1980, his son Wayne returned to an adoring community in 2001

“Some of the kids experienced that a couple of years ago when we won the baseball championship, but this was the first time that Wayne was there for a title game,” Jones explained.

The Jones family may still have an opportunity to get another championship game in the family. Wayne Jones is expected to play football again next year for the Longhorns and his younger brother Mark Jones is currently on the field for the junior varsity.

“As long as it’s something he wants to do, I’ll support him. I just want him to do whatever he thinks is going to make him happy,” Jones said.