Longhorns stumble against Sparta

LINDEN — Marengo Academy’s playoff positioning took a significant hit Friday night as the Longhorns lost to visiting Sparta Academy 24-16.

Several Longhorn defenders surround and bring down a Sparta runner.

Sparta jumped out to an early 16-0 lead in the second quarter before Marengo showed substantial signs of life on a 45-yard scoring pass from Tyler Barkley to Hayden Huckabee. Barkley then his Shade Pritchett on the two-point conversion pass to cut the lead to 16-8.

Sparta stretched the advantage to 24-8 late in the third quarter. The Longhorns answered again with 11:15 remaining in the contest when Huckabee scored on a five-yard run. Huckabee then punched in the two-point conversion to round out the scoring.

The Longhorns moved the ball to the Sparta 12 in an effort to force overtime before the fourth quarter clock expired to end the game.

The result puts both teams at 3-2 in region play. The Longhorns (4-3) will travel to Sumter Academy next week for a key region contest while Sparta (4-4) hosts Meadowview Christian.

The Longhorns, who average nearly 300 yards per game on the ground, mustered just 101 yards on 38 rushes Friday night. Barkley paced the offense with 157 yards through the air on 10 of 17 passing. Josh Holifield served as MA’s leading rusher with 74 yards. Pritchett hauled in 77 yards through the air while Huckabee had 63 yards receiving.

Hayden Hall and David Creel led the defense with eight total tackles each. Carson Huckabee had seven tackles while Joseph Sammons and Thomas Etheridge were each in on six stops.