Longhorns trample Springwood in AISA playoff opener

Hayden Huckabee (18) and Hayden Hall (52) team up to bring down a Springwood ball carrier.

Hayden Huckabee (18) and Hayden Hall (52) team up to bring down a Springwood ball carrier.

Landon Houlditch hauls in a touchdown pass against Springwood.

Landon Houlditch hauls in a touchdown pass against Springwood.

LINDEN – Marengo Academy (9-1) had little trouble with Springwood Friday afternoon as the Longhorns rolled to a 62-0 blowout victory in the first round of the AISA Class AA playoffs.

The Longhorns found themselves needing to convert a pair of fourth down tries on the opening possession before Hayden Huckabee scored on a 27-yard sprint. Springwood did not flirt with slowing the Longhorn offense again while the game was in contention.

“They’ve got 11 people in the box and I mean 11 people in the box,” Marengo Academy coach Robby James said of the defense his team faced while trying to convert two fourth downs on the game’s opening drive. “We tried to run it on them a little bit. They held us to two fourth downs and we got them. I thought that was a good start.”

Shade Pritchett added to the lead with a 67-yard run before Marengo went to the air to capitalize on an overloaded defensive box.

Tyler Barkley hit Landon Houlditch for a 13-yard touchdown pass before Huckabee connected with Houlditch on a 46-yard scoring strike. Huckabee punched in the conversion run and Marengo Academy held a 28-0 lead after one quarter of play.

“They seemed to be disregarding the pass completely,” James said.

Josh Holifield cuts back against a Springwood defender.

Josh Holifield cuts back against a Springwood defender.

Huckabee scored on a 31-yard run in the second quarter before Holified punched it in from eight yards out. Ralph Langley scored on a 13-yard run to up it to 48-0. Huckabee polished off the scoring for the starters on a 75-yard touchdown run that left the Longhorns up 55-0 at half.

“They shut down our run game, which is a huge part of what we do,” Springwood coach Thomas Hill said. “Their ends played very well. We couldn’t adjust to the intensity they were bringing. We held them to two fourth downs early, but we just couldn’t make plays.”

With the game having gone to a running clock in the second half, Marengo turned to its reserves. In need of a third down conversion, Robert Tutt went over the top to Will Allen, who took it the distance to complete a 59-yard touchdown pass.

Marengo amassed 540 yards of offense in the game and held Springwood to just 28. The Wildcats had -46 yards at half before Shykee Thomas broke a 54-yard run to get his team into positive yardage.

Ralph Langley (2) runs free as Carson Huckabee (50) looks to block against Springwood.

Ralph Langley (2) runs free as Carson Huckabee (50) looks to block against Springwood.

Most of Springwood’s positive ball movement came off Marengo penalties as the Longhorns totaled 10 infractions for 122 yards.

Huckabee led the way with 148 yards and three touchdowns on only six carries. Holifield finished with 116 yards and a score on 12 carries.

Cason Cook had a pair of sacks. Tait Sanford had a sack. Alston Dinning and Andrew Martin each had an interception. Austin Eatmon forced and recovered a fumble.

Marengo is set to host the winner of Clarke Prep next week after the Gators downed Lakeside 31-29.

Cason Cook wraps up Springwood's quarterback for a second quarter sack.

Cason Cook wraps up Springwood’s quarterback for a second quarter sack.