Longhorns ready for opener against SCA

Marengo Academy head coach Robby James watches over preseason practice.

LINDEN – Marengo Academy will take the field Friday night for its season opener, anxious to cleanse its palate of the bad taste left after the 2011 season.

“It’s going to be big to them,” Marengo Academy head coach Robby James said of what Friday’s contest with South Choctaw Academy means to his players. “It is not a region game, but it is the first game and we want to get out and get a win.”

After a 2-8 campaign in 2011 that saw a very young Longhorn squad proverbially take it on the chin all season, MA returns a still young, yet more experienced group in 2012. That group will look to counter a very capable SCA team that has already notched a win this season.

“They’ve got a good ball team,” James said. “They’re much improved. They’re running the Wing-T. They’ve got a new coach. They beat (Wayne Academy of Mississippi) after losing to them something like 40-0 last year.”

James said SCA has good size on the offensive and defensive fronts as well as plenty of speed in the backfield. South Choctaw’s talent, coupled with the way it utilizes the Wing-T offense may be enough to override any inherent advantage the Longhorns may have by employing a similar system.

“There is still so much misdirection. Angle blocking causes some problems. I think there is some advantage to seeing it over and over and over and then playing somebody with in in the first game,” James said. “But it still comes down to blocking and tackling.”

When the Longhorns take the field Friday night, they will rely on freshman Hayden Huckabee as the triggerman. While the battle for the starting quarterback spot is not yet over, Huckabee, a freshman, will get the nod over sophomore Tyler Barkley at least for this week.

“Thing about him is he is an explosive kind of player,” James said. “He is an extra back back there. If it breaks down, he can make something happen. He’s got good speed.”

After tangling with South Choctaw, the Longhorns will dive into region play in week two against East Wood.

“You improve probably more between the first and second game than any other game,” James said. James’ Longhorns will see how much improving they have left to do when they kick off Friday night at South Choctaw Academy.