Longhorns fall to Tuscaloosa

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 10, 2005

A long pass play, a feisty red zone defense and the home clock helped give the Marengo Academy Longhorns a 10-7 lead of Tuscaloosa Academy Friday night going into the half at home.

The Longhorns had the ball and seemingly all the momentum going into the second half, but Marengo fumbled the first snap of the second half and things were never the same.

The Knights rode a pounding running attack and an opportunistic passing game to a 17-7 win.

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“We made a couple of crucial mistakes that hurt us really bad,” Marengo coach Jesse Little said. “We fumbled the first snap of the second half and they scored off that.”

In fact, both of the Knights touchdowns came on a short field in the third quarter.

Neither team could sustain drives in the fourth as injuries and a myriad of penalties took their toll.

“You get in a battle and you fight, you try to win,” Little said of both teams drawing heavy second half penalties, including several of the 15-yard varieties.

Marengo had once good chance to swing momentum back in their favor in the fourth quarter.

Facing third and long and already down 17-7, Marengo dug deep into the playbook and came up with a gem.

With the ball on the right hash, the offense lined up wide left except for the center, quarterback and running back.

With the two backs in the shotgun and a receiver wide right, the Knights barely had time to line up before the snap of the ball.

Sophomore Phillip Farmer took the snap and flipped the ball to running back John Cox Miller.

As the receiver released down field, Miller raced to the right side like it was a sweep.

Without slowing to even get his feet set, Miller threw a running, jump hook pass towards the wide-open deep man just before getting hit in the gut.

The Knights were fooled, the opportunity there, but the pass was just off the mark.

“It’s a quadruple option, both backs can run it of throw it,” Little said of the play that could have changed the tide. “That’s been our story all year.

That was close, but we can’t quite get over the hump… five more yards and it would have scored.”

That wasn’t the only time the Longhorns got tricky.

In the first half, Little successfully moved his quarterbacks in and out like a shell game. After several Miller runs, Little slipped Farmer back under center at midfield and said to his assistants,, “Coach, I think this might score right here.”

The subsequent bomb from Farmer to Kaylor didn’t find pay dirt, but it did set the Longhorns up inside the 10-yard line.

The Knights succeeded in bottling up the Marengo offense for most of the Knight. Farmer had 45 yards on 4 of 8 passing, but was intercepted twice late.

The Marengo ground game never really got going.

Unofficially, Drew Robison and Jeremy Averette finished with 13 yards on seven carries each.

Andy Flowers had 17 yards and the Longhorns’ lone touchdown on six carries.

Hagen Kaylor had a 37-yard catch that set up the Longhorns’ score.

The Knights racked up some impressive numbers on the night, but struggled to finish off drives against the ‘Horns.

Star running back Maurice Scheef, who had more than 350 yards on the ground last week, finished with 173 yards on 19 carries against Marengo.

Scheef did most of his damage in the second half, piling up over 100 yards, but with less than five minutes in the game he was hurt and did not return.

He had to be helped off the field after the game with his lower right leg wrapped in ice.

His condition was unavailable as of press time.

Running back Courtney Shelton finished with 95 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

He also had a 22-yard touchdown catch.

Quarterback James Tullidge finished the game 4 of 11 for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Scheeff had the first score of the game, a 27-yard field goal.

Defensively, Jessie Morgan, Averette, Flowers and Josh Montee stood out at times for Marengo.

With the loss, Marengo falls to 1-5 on the season.