Thursday night games highlight busy football schedule
The Thursday night slate of high school games featuring Marengo County teams this week is a full one, with four of the six local high schools in action.
Being week five, most teams in the state will step outside region play, and that’s the case for all local teams as well. Demopolis will travel to Jackson to take on a former region rival and Class 5A No. 3 ranked team in the Aggies. Marengo Academy will host Patrician on Thursday, and A.L. Johnson will travel to Dixons Mills to take on Marengo on Thursday as well.
On Friday night, the Linden Patriots will welcome the No. 1 team in Class 5A, St. Paul’s, to town and Sweet Water will host R.C. Hatch for homecoming.
The last two years, the Tigers and Aggies were in the same region, and after reclassification this year, the coaches decided to keep the rivalry intact. Demopolis head coach Tom Causey said that even though it’s a game outside the region, it’s still a big game for his team.
“They’re a good football team, and they’re a top three 5A team for a reason,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for us in a non-region game to play one of the best teams in the state.”
Last week against Helena, the Tigers struggled with ball control in the first half, fumbling six times and losing two of those.
“We’re working on the same things we work on every week,” Causey added. “We’re focusing on the fundamentals of the game and cutting back on mistakes. We had a lot of penalties last week, and we need to correct that. Some of our mistakes came on the option and some were from how we carried the football, but it’s things we can work on. We struggled with it last Friday, and it’s been a point of emphasis this week.”
The Tigers also made a change at quarterback in the middle of the Helena game last week, putting Jamarcus Ezell in and moving Logan McVay back to safety on defense. Causey said both players have been taking snaps at quarterback during practice this week.
“We’re going to keep working them and have them both ready,” he said. “Losing Tripp [Perry] last week puts us down a senior quarterback, receiver and punter, so those young guys are going to have to fill in.”
Looking closer at Thursday night’s game, Causey said that even though Jackson lost a lot of seniors from last year’s team, they’re just as talented this year.
“They’ve got different kids and different numbers, but they’re the same type of players,” he said. “They’ve got the same quality and caliber players they did last year.”
ALJ, Marengo meet in county rivalry game
The A.L. Johnson Eagles (3-1, 2-0) will travel to Marengo (1-3, 0-3) Thursday for a matchup between county rivals.
The Panthers are on a three-game losing skid, and coach Bernard Myrthil said his players are itching for a win.
“The last few weeks have hurt,” he said. “We’ve come out flat in the first halves of those games and put ourselves in bad situations, and I have to find the recipe to get our players fired up for the first half as much as they are for the second half.”
He added that this week’s game being a rivalry game should help with that.
“A.L. Johnson will be a tough challenge for us, but we’re really focusing on Marengo football and improving ourselves,” he said. “We have to put points on the board to win games, and that’s something we haven’t been able to do.”
A.L. Johnson head coach Johnney Ford said even though it’s a big rivalry game, the Eagles have to treat it like it’s just another game.
“In a rivalry game like this, you can throw out the record books,” he said. “The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win the ballgame. They’re a big team up front, and we need to try to have a balanced attack and play good assignment football. We can’t let our emotions get the best of us.”
Sweet Water looks to rebound
Coming off of a 39-0 loss to region rival Washington County, the Sweet Water Bulldogs will try to rebound this week against R.C. Hatch. Sweet Water head coach Pat Thompson said he and his staff are working to keep their players focused during homecoming week.
“We’ve just got to stress the important to the boys that the most important thing this week isn’t the homecoming dance or any of the other stuff – it’s the football game on Friday night,” he said.
Thompson added that the team came into practice this week ready to play.
“They were embarrassed by the way they played last week,” he said. “They knew they didn’t play well. Not to take anything away from Washington County, because they’re a very good football team, but we didn’t play well. The guys have a good attitude and came in here Monday and had a good practice.”
He said R.C. Hatch is a big, athletic team that has players that can make big plays.
“We just have to do what we do,” Thompson said. “We need to get after the quarterback and put pressure on them. We’re just working on Sweet Water and getting ourselves better.”