Longhorns face unfamiliar foe in first round

LINDEN — Marengo Academy will go into Friday night’s first round AISA Class A playoff game as the No. 2 seed out of Region 2. But the Longhorns’ advantage may be limited to the fact that they get the first round contest at home.

Marengo will have to contend with an unfamiliar team it has never seen in the 42-year history of its program when the Abbeville Christian Generals come to call.

“They are a spread team. They like to spread you out and try and run the football. They are a double slot team with one back,” Marengo head coach Robby James said of Abbeville’s offensive scheme and the challenges it presents to the Longhorns. “They will get in a pistol look. They run option and zone read out of every formation you can think of, trips, quads, a lot of motion. It takes some time. We don’t see it a lot in our league. We see some spread but not a lot. The big thing is the quarterback they have back there running it. He is so fast. It puts a lot of pressure on your defense.”

Abbeville enters with a 7-3 record, riding a four-game win streak and having outscored its opponents 309-127 over the course of the season.

“They are a little bigger than us but everybody is. Their right tackle is 6-6, 365. Their left tackle is 6-1 and probably 255, 260,” James said. “They block from the up position. All the games I’ve seen, (the Abbeville quarterback) has been sacked one time.”

James pointed to his team’s offense as being key to its defensive success against Abbeville, citing the Longhorns’ need to put together sustained drives and keep the Generals’ playmakers on the sidelines.

“I would love to score early somehow. And then when you get the ball try to use that clock, keep the football and try to keep them off the field,” James said.

The Longhorns will host the Abbeville Christian Friday night at 7 p.m. at Linden Athletic Field.