Longhorn battle illness, prep for Knights

Published 8:23 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2009

LINDEN – Just days removed from their first win of the season, the Marengo Academy Longhorns are already battling their next opponent.

“We’re going through a little sickness right now,” MA head coach Robby James said of the bug that has further limited his already slight roster.

As the Longhorns attempt to fend off the illnesses that have made their rounds in recent weeks, they are simultaneously working to prepare for a daunting road game at Macon-East Montgomery.

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“They’re an aggressive bunch,” James said of his team’s next on-field foe. “They play hard-nosed ball. They’ve got a lot of seniors and juniors. They run an offense you don’t see much in our league. It’s a pistol. They’re pretty versatile in their offense.”

James said the Knights have not gone to the air much early this season as their ground game has afforded them a number of big plays. Still, the first-year MA head coach takes comfort in the fact that his team’s defense held an accomplished Glenwood ground game to less than 100 yards rushing last week.

That defensive frugality helped MA to land the 14-12 upset over the Gators, who held the state’s No. 10 rank heading into the game.

“They’re in good spirits,” James said of his players. “It is always easier to correct things when you win.”

Toppling Macon-East on the road will likely require more offensive consistency for the Longhorns.

“We had field position in the first half and didn’t take advantage of it,” James said of the Glenwood game. “We’ve got to get better at that.”

Macon-East marks the team’s final tune-up before it dives into region play against Morgan Academy next week.

“Just about all the games after (the Macon-East game) are region games,” James said. “We’re excited about it.”

As region play looms, James’ team is beginning to find its rhythm and, with it, a confidence the veteran head coach believes is necessary for success.

“The effort again was very good. The boys are playing hard and are fun to watch,” James said. “I think that is a big part of it, getting confidence in what you’re doing. I thought we did well (against Glenwood). The guys are believing in what we’re doing.”