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Longhorns romp in region win over EMCA

PRATTVILLE — The Marengo Academy Longhorns (3-3, 2-1) made the most of their first game on artificial turf Thursday, dropping East Memorial 31-14 at Stanley Jensen Stadium.

“It was a lot of fun for our guys to get to play on that,” MA head coach Robby James said of the experience his players had competing on the same field that serves as the home stadium of 6A state champs, Prattville High School.

The Longhorns entered the game looking to move to 2-1 in region play and put together their first winning streak of the year. James expected formidable opposition from a Wildcat team that had beaten Tuscaloosa Academy just weeks earlier.

“They’d beaten Tuscaloosa and they’d scored 33 points on Macon-East,” James said. “They looked good on film.”

The Longhorns stifled the East Memorial offense from the outset, holding the Wildcats to a total of 50 yards in the first half.

“”Best game we’ve played all year,” James said of the first contest he can remember his Longhorns playing on dry ground. “We played great. I was really proud of the guys. We just went over there and played well over there. Our biggest problem of the night was that we had some penalties.”

The Longhorns did most of their work on the ground, completing only one pass on the night.

“I think we threw five passes and completed one for 52 yards to Wood Collins,” James said.

Rabe Hale led the ground attack with 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 18 carries. Matt Etheridge complimented his efforts with 71 yards and an end zone visit on 15 carries. Matt Wallace ran the ball eight times for 48 yards and a touchdown. Trevor Johnson added 36 yards on only five carries.

The Longhorns had a handful of minor injuries while EMCA lost a couple of players to apparent concussions.The game was halted briefly in the second half while emergency response personnel carried one Wildcat player off the field on a stretcher.

“It was a physical game,” James said. “They got after it.”

The early game gives the Longhorns a long week of preparation as they look to extend their winning streak on the road against region foe Escambia Academy next Friday night.

“It gives you a little bit of a chance now to get ready for your next opponent,” James said. “We’ve got two region wins. We’ve got some tough games ahead. But you play and you never know.”