Longhorns look to hook Warriors

LINDEN — Fresh off a 28-16 road loss to Pickens Academy, Robby James’ team has little time to lick its wounds as it prepares for Sparta Academy’s impending visit.

The Longhorns’ first region loss not gave Pickens the Class A, Region 2 championship, but it left Marengo Academy in a tie for second place and the coveted home playoff game that accompanies the seeding.

“Of course we’ve got to take care of business this week and we’ve got Sumter still,” James said. “So we’ve got two games that are big.”

In Sparta, Marengo finds a team that would like little more to muddy the waters even further with a win Friday that would a three-way tie for the No. 2 seed.

After a sluggish 0-4 start in which they mustered only 34 points over four contests, the Sparta Warriors have hung 40 on the board in three straight weeks, pulling two region wins in the process. The latest of those victories came last week when Sparta knocked off Jackson 41-34.

“They’ve got big old boys. They’ve got a good running back. They run out of the I (formation) a lot. Against Jackson, they just kept the football and they scored 41 points,” James said of the Warriors’ preferred offensive approach. “We’re going to have to stop them. We’re going to have to be able to line up and stop some power football. And they’ll line up in shotgun and spread it out. So it’s two different looks.”

James’ team, whose only senior is out with an injury, has continued to make gains despite recent setbacks against Class AA foes Patrician and Wilcox and last week’s loss to Pickens.

“As young as we are and them all seniors, I felt like we played hard. We left (Pickens) and felt like we played with them. That’s the thing. Even though we got beat, we felt like we could move the ball. We had right at 300 yards rushing and they had about the same,” James said. “We’ve still got to eliminate some mistakes. The mistakes we made hurt us early.”

Marengo Academy is scheduled to host Sparta Friday night at 7 p.m.