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Longhorns look to pull record even

Robby James’ return to the AISA has been nothing short of unpredictable thus far. The well-regarded veteran head coach took over a Marengo Academy program whose numbers dwindled into the teens during the offseason.

Still, despite having A numbers, James’ gang has held its own against AAA competition in the season’s early going.

After losses to Macon-East Montgomery and Morgan, a narrow defeat against Patrician and a pair of wins over Glenwood and Kingwood, James’ team has the opportunity to move to 3-3 if it can land a win on the road at region foe East Memorial Thursday night.

“We need this region game right here because we know there are some tough ones on down the road,” James says of the showdown.

However, as much as James’ Longhorns understand their need for a region win this week, East Memorial is in a similar predicament in its quest for the playoffs.

“They came over and watched us last week (against Kingwood), so we know they are thinking they need to beat us and get a region game,” James says.

The Longhorns are aided in their quest to pull their record even by a number of factors. Included among that list is a predominantly healthy team and the momentum built with last week’s 41-0 dispatching of the visiting Lions.

“I think anytime you can go into a game, especially a region game, and you play well, it just makes it better for practice the next week,” James says. “Everybody comes out energized and ready to get better.”

Getting better is a key focus for the Longhorns during the short week of practice leading up to their faceoff with East Memorial.

EMCA has shown resiliency in its first few games of the season, nearly overcoming a substantial deficit to lose to Macon-East in tight fashion and erasing a 21-0 halftime mark to upset then ranked Tuscaloosa Academy.

“They seem like they are a pretty good second half team,” James says. “They play a pretty good offensive game. They’ve scored a lot of points. They ran the ball well against Macon-East earlier this year. They are a lot better football team than they have been in the past.”

With that fact in view, James’ team will likely employ a similar approach to that which has led it to a pair of wins already this season.

“With our numbers, we’re trying to run the ball and get the game down to the fourth quarter and have a chance to win it,” James says of a style that has suited his team thus far in 2009.

If that strategy continues to prove successful, MA could well realize a number of the goals it set for itself heading into the season.

“I know we’ve lost some games, but we haven’t lost sight of what we’re trying to do,” James says of the Longhorns’ quest to make the playoffs. “We’re working hard to win more battles than we lose and have everybody standing at the end.”