Longhorns hang 41 unanswered in rout of Wilcox

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Hayden Hall brings down Wilcox quarterback Drake Lauderdale for one of his 15 tackles on the night.

Hayden Hall brings down Wilcox quarterback Drake Lauderdale for one of his 15 tackles on the night.

LINDEN — Marengo Academy (6-1) reeled off 41 unanswered points to end the game Thursday night with a 47-10 win over Wilcox Academy (5-2) and win the Class AA, Region 1 championship.

With 1:12 left in the first quarter, Clayton Sheffield hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass from Drake Lauderdale to even the score for Wilcox. Lauderdale added the extra point to put the Wildcats up 7-6. Early in the second, Lauderdale connected on a 28-yard field goal to stretch the Wilcox lead to 10-6.

With the second quarter clock winding down and the Longhorn offense struggling, Josh Holifield unleashed a 53-yard punt to stick Wilcox back at its own 14. Wallace Tutt helped MA take advantage of the field position on the next snap when he stripped the ball from a Wildcat runner and returned it to the Wilcox 11. Two plays later, Hayden Huckabee scored on a 6-yard run off a toss to the left to put the Longhorns up to stay. Huckabee then hit Shade Pritchett on a two-point conversion pass to set the halftime lead at 14-10 for Marengo.

“I give our defense all the credit,” Marengo coach Robby James said. “I thought they played great.”

Thomas Etheridge (51) pulls down a Wilcox ball carrier as Tyler Barkley (6) comes over the top to help finish the play.

Thomas Etheridge (51) pulls down a Wilcox ball carrier as Tyler Barkley (6) comes over the top to help finish the play.

The Longhorns got their first touchdown on a 1-yard Huckabee run that punctuated a short drive set up by an Andrew Martin interception.

Despite the halftime lead, Marengo mustered only 53 yards of offense in the game’s first 24 minutes.

The second half played out much differently for MA as Pritchett erupted for a 53-yard sprint to the Wilcox 5 on the opening snap of the third quarter. Holifield then punched it in for a touchdown and a 21-10 Longhorn lead.

“I think, first half, it seemed like we were trying to finesse too much,” James said of the way his team approached the imposing Wilcox defensive front. “We got in the spread too much. It didn’t work out too good, so we said, ‘Hey, let’s get back to what we know.’”

Carson Huckabe (50), Hayden Hall (52), and Tait Sanford (54) stonewall a Wilcox runner.

Carson Huckabe (50), Hayden Hall (52), and Tait Sanford (54) stonewall a Wilcox runner.

Two possessions later, Pritchett bolted for a 69-yard touchdown run on a one-play drive to put the Longhorns up 28-10.

“They were kind of overloading on the wing side,” James said. “They had three or four guys on Huckabee everywhere he went and all we had to do was hand it to somebody else and it was clear sailing.”

Pritchett found the end zone again on the first play of the fourth quarter when he hauled in a 32-yard touchdown pass from Huckabee to up the advantage to 34-10.

Less than two minutes later, Cason Cook exploded through the Wilcox line for a sack and a forced fumble. Carson Huckabee scooped the loose ball and returned it 20 yards for a score and the 40-10 lead.

With 5:19 remaining, Holifield capped the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run.

Pritchett ended the night with four carries for 149 yards and a touchdown to go along with two receptions for 41 yards and a score. Holifield finished with 110 yards and two scores on 13 carries.

Hayden Hall paced the Marengo defense with 15 tackles. Carson Huckabee had nine stops with a fumble recovery and a touchdown.

The Longhorns are set to travel to Abbeville Christian next week before wrapping the season at home against Jackson Academy Oct. 31.

Brothers Carson (50) and Hayden Huckabee celebrate following a touchdown run by Hayden.

Brothers Carson (50) and Hayden Huckabee celebrate following a touchdown run by Hayden.