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MA’s James optimistic about future

LINDEN — The Longhorns have seen better days. The last two weeks have witnessed Marengo Academy lose by a total of 64 points. But MA head coach Robby James is not discouraged.
“We played hard last Friday night,” James said. “We scored every time we had the ball except one, but we never could stop them. We got behind. But (the Longhorns) kept playing the whole time. We’ll get better like that.”
James reported the effort was markedly better than it was a week earlier against Clarke-Prep. He sees that as an encouraging development.
“Our biggest problem is we only have 15 boys,” James said, referencing the little more than a dozen players between grades 10 and 12. “We try to make sure they are in as good of condition as they can be. We don’t want anybody to get hurt. But if they are going to get hurt, we would rather it come in practice than in a game.”
The Longhorns also have no weaker opponents on the schedule as they have in years past. That makes resting player much more difficult.
“With no more numbers than we have, every game is interesting,” James said.
But, more than anything, James is encouraged by his team’s progress and believes brighter days are near.
“I think we will get better,” he said. “We’re going to try to win every game from here on out. I feel like we can.”
One of the reasons for his optimism is the developing relationship between quarterback Matt Wallace and tight ends Chris Sammons and Trevor Johnson. Last Friday night at Escambia Academy, Wallace hit Sammons for MA’s first touchdown of the game. Wallace then connected with Trevor Johnson for three end zone visits.
“When you run Wing-T, people walk up,” James said of the way opposing defenses load the box against his run-oriented team. “If you get it going on first down, your tight ends will come open.”
James will look to get it going early this week against a familiar foe in Robert Gartman and Sumter Academy.
“We’ve coached against each other so much, he knows what I’m going to do,” James said. “Been playing against him for years and he is an outstanding coach. They run the veer. They have a real good offense. Their defense is coming around too. They’ve got two good coaches on both sides of the ball.”
MA visits Sumter Academy Friday night at 7 p.m.