Longhorns gearing up for state title game

Published 4:17 pm Tuesday, November 18, 2014

For the second year in a row, the Marengo Academy Longhorns have reached the state championship game.

The only difference is this year, they’re in AISA Class AA instead of AISA Class A.

The change in classification didn’t affect the Longhorns during the regular season, as they finished the year 8-1 with their only loss coming to Class AAA Bessemer Academy in the first week of the season.

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Marengo Academy might be facing their toughest opponent yet, though, on Friday when they take on Edgewood Academy at noon at Troy University.

Edgewood is riding a 57-game win streak and was ranked No. 1 in the final AISA poll, which covers all three classifications. Marengo was ranked third in the same poll.

MA head coach Robby James said he credits his players with staying focused all season and getting back to the championship game.

“Our guys have been real disciplined and eager to get back to this game since last year,” he said. “I think that was one of the most fun times of their lives last year, and they want to have that feeling again.”

James added that he was worried about last week’s matchup with Clarke Prep because it was a team the Longhorns had defeated earlier in the season.

“I was worried about that game last week because we had played them earlier in the season, and they were much improved from the first time we saw them,” he said.

“I thought our guys came out and played well, though. Now we’ve got a real big challenge with Edgewood.”

He said that for his team to be able to repeat as state champions, they’ll have to slow down Edgewood’s athletic players on offense.

“They’re like the Oregon of high school football,” James said. “They’ve got some great athletes. Their wide receivers are fast and have great hands. They’ve got a couple running backs…one has an offer from Oregon State and the other is committed to Vanderbilt. They’re a team that can run it or throw it. They’ve got some exceptional athletes on offense.”

Wildcats running back Josh Crawford is currently committed to Vanderbilt.

James added that the Wildcats defensively haven’t given up many points all season, and the Longhorns will have to finish drives when they have the chance.

“On offense, we can help our defense by haning onto the ball and trying to put together some long drives,” he said. “We need to score points when we have the chance. I hope we can keep D off the field for a good bit of time and get points when we get the chance.”