Panthers find plenty of positives after winning season

Marengo High School wrapped up its season Friday night with a 24-18 win over Class 2A Southern Choctaw. The victory punctuated the Panther season with five-consecutive wins and left MHS with a 6-4 record, the first winning season for Marengo since 2008.

“I will remember the process of getting to where we are,” first-year Marengo head coach Eberne Bernard Myrthil said. “I was the new guy n the block. The kids have been here most of their lives and have been used to doing things one way. To see these young men change from hoping to win to expecting to win is a great feeling!”

Marengo opened the season with a 41-6 win over Myrthil’s former school, Choctaw County. From there, the Panthers fell 14-6 to eventual region champ Fruitdale and then suffered double-digit losses to Chickasaw, Millry and A.L. Johnson. On Oct. 3, the Panthers blanked McIntosh 30-0 and ignited a winning streak they will carry into next season as they downed Sunshine, J.U. Blacksher, J.F. Shields and Southern Choctaw.

“I wouldn’t say we was a different team. We just stopped making mistakes,” Myrthil said. “We stopped turning the ball over. We stopped getting in our own way. We started the first half of the season averaging three turnovers a game. It’s impossible to win like that.. By the end of the season, we were down to less than one. Our offensive coordinator, Coach Walker, took the strengths of our team and made us nearly unstoppable offensively.”

That offensive identity shaped itself around a massive offensive line anchored by 6-1, 397-pound senior center Phillip Treadwell. With that line at the core of its personality, Marengo went on to rely on a power run game.

“I think the whole team improved as the season went on, but our O-line are the guys we leaned on them to establish an identity of being a power football team and they stepped up,” Myrthil said. “Our running backs and fullback were the heart of our team. Our O-line coach, Coach Pritchett, really helped those guys.”

As a team, Marengo rushed for 2,749 yards and 33 touchdowns on only 419 attempts. That breaks down to an average of 6.56 yards per carry. Leading the way was 6-2, 230-pound sophomore Travarious Harris.

A two-way starter, Harris finished with 1,165 yards and 17 touchdowns on 151 carries. Add to that a receiving touchdown and 14 conversion runs and Harris provided an unique spark to the Panther attack with his 7.72 yards per carry average.

Harris will spearhead a group of key returners for the Panthers next season.

“Well we are returning our quarterback Cordarius Pritchett, our fullback Travarious Harris, our right and left tackles Cadarius Morris and Johnny Kennedy, left guard Andrew Pickett, our tight end De’Angelos Crispin, one wide receiver Michael Kennedy and defensive end Quindaris Ausbon,” Myrthil said. “We are going to lean on those guys next year to carry this team and improve on what we did at the end of the year.”

Marengo will also bid farewell to a strong senior class that included Justice Irvin, Dajaquon Bouler, Robert Grayson, Dewon Pritchett, Floyd Simmons, Christopher Watson, David Autery, Justin Dunning, Clarence Tolbert, Treadwell, Shatavius Mitchell, Dequinta Dixon and Kenyatta Raines.

“The team will miss every last one of them,” Myrthil said. “Every last one of them had an impact on this team.”