Longhorns look to keep momentum going Thursday

LINDEN — Marengo Academy (5-4) will wrap up its regular season action Thursday night when it hosts rival Southern Academy (2-7).

“The Southern game is always big. It’s a rival game,” Marengo head coach Robby James said. “They’ve always gotten after Marengo hard and Marengo has always played them hard. We just want to play well. We don’t want to go backwards.”

The Longhorns welcome Southern to town just six days after scoring one of its biggest victories in years with a 37-12 win over Sumter Academy that clinched a home playoff game for MA.

“Our whole team really played better than we have in a long time the other night,” James said of the win. “I think the biggest thing last week was knowing that if we wanted to be No. 2, we had to win. Our back was against the wall and they responded. We got up early and that was good.”

The Longhorns got significant contributions from a number of players in the win over the Eagles last week. James knows that if his team is to end the regular season with momentum, it will need a complete team effort again Thursday.

“What I see is a pretty good football team. How they’ve lost this many, I don’t know. They’ve got a good looking bunch of boys,” James said of Southern, which will bring a five-game losing streak to Linden. “They score points on everybody.”

While the Longhorns’ playoff destiny is already set in stone with Abbeville Christian coming to call Friday, Nov. 2, Thursday’s non-region game will not have a tangible effect. James, however, has been around long enough to understand just how big the clash with Southern is for his team’s momentum.

“You want to go into the playoffs having won your last game,” James said. “Our record hasn’t been quite as good as we had hoped, but we can finish 6-4 and that is good enough to get us in. We’re excited about the bunch of young guys that we’ve got. You never know what can happen when you get in there.”

The Longhorns last defeated the Cougars Halloween night 2009 with a 24-7 win.