Five of six local teams in action Thursday, Friday

Published 4:42 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The regular season has arrived for all six Marengo County teams this week.

Five of the six teams will play this week with Sweet Water on a bye after they opened their regular season with a loss on the road to Thomasville last week.

This week will serve as a final warmup for teams as they prepare for the region schedule, which begins next week.

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Demopolis will host Thomasville in a rivalry game Friday night to open their season. Marengo High School, Marengo Academy and Linden also open their seasons this week, and A.L. Johnson plays their second game of the season.

Demopolis hosts ‘Battle of Tigers’

For Demopolis, head coach Tom Causey said he expects Friday’s game to be a physical contest.

“They play fast and physical football, and that has translated into a lot of success over the last 15 or 20 years,” Causey said. “They’re a team that doesn’t make many mistakes.”

He added that he’s looking for his team to come out with more effort and energy than they did in the jamboree against Tuscaloosa County.

“The effort of our young guys was really good last week, and I want to see more of that out of our returning players this week,” he said. “We need to improve in all areas of the game.”

Causey said Thomasville has a lot of speed on both sides of the ball, which will be a test for the home Tigers.

“They have a whole bunch of guys on offense that have a lot of speed and determination,” he said. “They’ve got one of the fastest defensive lines we’ll see, and their inside linebackers tackle really well. They have a boat load of tackles against Sweet Water last week. On special teams, they cover kicks really well, so you have to be sound in your return game to get any yards.”

Longhorns begin title defense

Defending AISA Class A champions Marengo Academy will begin their quest for a Class AA title Thursday at Bessemer Academy.

Bessemer finished as AISA Class AAA runners up last season, and MA head coach Robby James said he felt their skill players were better than they were last year.

“Bessemer is a heck of a team,” James said. “Their quarterback can throw the ball well, and they have some really good skill players. They’re a fast team that spreads the field and runs out of the shotgun. They never go under center. They run a lot of sweeps and zone reads.”

James added that he was pleased with the way his team performed in their jamboree last week.

“I thought we did a lot of things well,” he said. “We need to improve on staying with our blocks better and taking the proper steps with our linemen, but we played aggressive. We made some mistakes, but that’s expected in a jamboree. We played with a lot of heart and enthusiasm.”

Myrthil prepares to coach first game

The Marengo Panthers open their season at home Thursday against the Choctaw County Tigers. MHS head coach E.B. Myrthil will coach his first meaningful game for the Panthers.

“I thought we did OK in the jamboree, but we had some lapses against the speed of Linden,” he said. “We didn’t play all of our starters because of some minor injuries, but I think we’ll click on offense when everybody’s healthy. We should be able to play hard-nosed football on defense.”

Myrthil said emotions will be high for both teams because he used to be an assistant at Choctaw County.

“I coached a lot of the guys down there,” he said. “Most of the seniors were freshmen when I was there, so I know a lot of those guys. It’ll be a tough game, but we’re going to go out and compete and try to take care of business. It should be a fun game.”

Myrthil added that he hopes fans come out and support the team Thursday night.

“We need the support of our fans,” he said. “The kids want their family, friends and fans to be out there.”

Eagles look to move to 2-0

A.L. Johnson will host West Blocton to try to improve to 2-0 on the young season. After defeating R.C. Hatch 36-16 to open the season, the Eagles will look to continue that success.

“I like the way our running backs played last week,” ALJ head coach Johnney Ford said. “I want us to build on that and keep getting better. We need to improve our tackling and get better at blocking overall. I want us to continue improving with our skill guys.”

Ford added that he wants his team to play more fast and physical going forward.

“We need to be taking advantage of the athletes we have,” he said.

Ford said for ALJ to be successful against West Blocton, they’ll have to defend the run well.

“They run a Wing-T offense and have a strong running game,” he said. “We’re going to need to shut down their run game and eliminate big plays.”

Patriots head to Washington County

Linden will be on the road Friday night when they travel to Washington County to take on a Class 2A power to open the season.

Linden comes into the game ranked No. 3 in the Class 1A poll, and Washington County comes in ranked No. 4 in the Class 2A poll.