MA gearing up for rivalry game
With their region schedule now concluded, the Marengo Academy Longhorns (5-5, 3-3) have set their sights firmly upon their next opponent, Southern Academy.
“We’re just thinking about Southern right now,” Marengo Academy head coach Jesse Little said when asked how his team’s next game correlated with his playoff preparations. “They have a good ball team. They like to run the ball they like to play-action pass.”
For some of Little’s players, the game carries no special implications.
“It’s just a win,” senior Josh Montee said. “Getting another win on our record and getting ready for the playoffs.”
Still, for other Longhorns, the game is the continuation of a strong rivalry.
“It’s a rivalry game,” senior Kyle Schroeder said. “It’s always been a rivalry game. It means more for bragging rights.”
Those bragging rights would likely be a little sweeter for the Longhorns this year as the Cougars have dropped only one game this season, an 18-13 loss to Monroe County.
“They’re a good ball team,” Little said. “So if we were to luck up and beat them, it would mean a lot.”
The Longhorns have dropped two games in a row against top-flight competition. According to Little, the back-to-back losses to Tuscaloosa Academy and Bessemer Academy have come as a result of miscues.
“We had four turnovers that (Bessemer) scored on,” Little said. “It could have been a lot closer if we eliminated the mistakes.”
“We need to not fumble as much,” Schroeder said. “Turnovers and penalties have killed us. I feel like we’re playing pretty good other than the turnovers.”
Montee believes most of the team’s issues could be remedied with two simple adjustments.
“We’ve still got some blocking errors and we’ve got to talk to each other,” Montee said before emphasizing that poor communication is likely the squad’s key problem.
However, despite its problems, Montee is adamant that the team has markedly improved over the course of the year.
“(We’ve come a) long way,” Montee said. “Between here and the first of the year, we talk more and play more as a team.”
“These boys have gotten better every ball game,” Little said. “The defense has really stepped up.”
Once the Southern game is put to bed Friday night, MA turns its attention fully to the first round of the playoffs where it is projected to meet Pike Liberal Arts.
“We have a good chance,” Schroeder said. “You just don’t ever know whenever you get into the playoffs. We have a real good chance.”