Longhorns start season in unfamiliar place

8-25-2017 — Selma, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s Trey Etheridge (10) and Dalton Daniels (54) bring down a Senator runner during the Longhorns’ season opener against Morgan Academy.

SELMA – The 2017 season did not start out for the Marengo Academy Longhorns like the 2016 season ended. Nine months from walking off the field as winner of the state championship game, the Longhorns did not leave as victors. The Class 3A Morgan Academy Senators handed the Longhorns their first loss of the season 57-6 Friday night.

The Longhorns started the game with a strong defensive stand and the Senators went three and out. The ‘Horns matched the Senators with a three and out on their first possession. On the following Senators’ possession, Casey Cramer picked off a pass and returned it deep into Morgan territory. After a successful fourth down conversion at the 4-yard line, the Longhorns fumbled and the ball was scooped up and returned to the 24-yard line. On the next play, the Senators hit on a 76-year touchdown pass. With a successful PAT, the Senators were up 7-0 with 4:27 to go in the first quarter.

8-25-2017 — Selma, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s Casey Cramer (22) returns an interception against the Morgan Academy Senators during the Longhorns’ season opener.

The Longhorns put up negative yards on their next possession and found themselves punting from within their own end zone. A fumbled punt was recovered by the Senators and the deficit grew to 14-0.

On their following possession, William Drake put the Longhorns in scoring territory with a run to the 19-yard line. Hunter Parker took the next snap to the five. Drake then punched it in from there and a failed PAT left the Longhorns down 14-6. As fate would have it, that was the last time the ‘Horns would make it to the end zone on the night.

The ensuing kickoff was returned by the Senators for a touchdown. The Senators followed that up with a 67-yard run and a 36-yard run after another Longhorn fumble. After a punt, the senators tacked on a 60-yard swing pass for a touchdown to lead 35-6 at the half.

After Hunter Parker left the field during halftime, Cramer moved to quarterback and Gavin Thompson moved to his more familiar position at running back. Unfortunately, the Longhorns’ fortunes didn’t change. An errant snap on a fourth down gave the Senators possession at the Longhorns’ 9-yard line. The next play was a touchdown run off the left side which put the Longhorns down 49-6 with 7:50 to go in the third quarter. The Senators followed up that score with a touchdown run with 8:03 to go in the fourth and a successful two-point conversion gave the Senators a 57-6 lead. A running clock made quick work of the remainder of the game.

8-25-2017 — Selma, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s Hunter Parker (24) runs around the block of William Drake (6) during the Longhorns’ season opener against the Morgan Academy Senators.

“We knew they were a fast team and we had to make open field tackles. We were right there with them for a quarter and a half and had some momentum and almost took a lead right off the bat. But, we fumbled and made too many mistakes and turnovers,” said first year head coach Lebo Jones. “With our lack of depth, they just wore us out. Once they got the momentum, it was over. They’re a 3A school and it’s hard to beat a 3A school when you’re a 1A school. But, we’re going to get better every day.”

Drake led the Longhorns with 48 yards on 13 carries. Parker tallied 27 yards on five carries before leaving the game at the half. The Longhorns lost two fumbles on the night.

Defensively, Carson Crawford led the Longhorns with five tackles. Trey Etheridge added four tackles and Cramer picked off a pass.

Marengo (0-1) will be at home next Thursday (8/31) against Monroe Academy.

8-25-2017 — Selma, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s William Drake (6) sizes up a defender during the Longhorns’ season opener against the Morgan Academy Senators.

Longhorns use 394-yard ground game to make easy work of Senators

08-26-16 -- Linden, Ala. -- Morgan Academy's QB attempts to get past a host of Longhorns in Friday's AISA match-up in Linden, Ala. Marengo beat the Senators by a final score of 42-6. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

08-26-16 — Linden, Ala. — Morgan Academy’s QB attempts to get past a host of Longhorns in Friday’s AISA match-up in Linden, Ala. Marengo beat the Senators by a final score of 42-6. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

The Longhorn senior class has its eyes set on another trip to Troy—they’ve been every year of their high school career thus far—and if Friday’s 42-6 victory is any indication, they’ll be back this year looking to seal the deal on a state championship.

The ‘Horns hosted Morgan Academy Friday and made quick and easy work of a Senator team who just last week shut out the reigning state champ, Edgewood Academy, by a final of 46-0.

“It’s big for us getting our identity,” Longhorn head coach Webb Tutt said of his team’s victory.

08-26-16 -- Linden, Ala. -- Marengo QB Jacob Beck (22) looks to the sideline for a call in Friday's AISA match-up in Linden, Ala. Marengo beat the Senators by a final score of 42-6. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

08-26-16 — Linden, Ala. — Marengo QB Jacob Beck (22) looks to the sideline for a call in Friday’s AISA match-up in Linden, Ala. Marengo beat the Senators by a final score of 42-6. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

“We came out a little soft at times, but we came out and finished drives when we needed to, converted some third-and-longs and some fourth downs that really kept drives going.”

Coming as somewhat of a shock was a new face at quarterback. Senior Robert Tutt, who called the shots last year, moved over to tailback and was replaced by junior Jacob Beck.

“We looked at everybody at tailback and [Robert] was our best shot, and Jacob does a good job running the offense in the Wing-T,” said Tutt.

The Longhorns struck first at the 2:57 mark when Weldon Aydelott punched it in from 2-yards out. The Hayden Megginson PAT was good, making it 7-0. Aydelott would go on to score twice in the third quarter with runs of 5 and 4-yards, respectively.

A Morgan fumble on the ensuing possession was recovered by Daniel McCray and set the ‘Horns up first-and-10 from the Senator 34-yard line. Aydelott took it 33 yards, followed by a 1-yard rush from quarterback Jacob Beck to add another touchdown with 1:34 to go in the first period of play. Megginson’s PAT put Marengo up 14-0.

48 of Gavin Tate’s 64 yards rushing came with 3:13 remaining in the first half when he found the end zone. The Megginson PAT made it 21-0.

The Senators’ only score of the night came on special teams when they returned the kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown, but Marengo would have no part of allowing a PAT, so the Senators went to the locker room trailing 21-6.

08-26-16 -- Linden, Ala. -- Marengo QB Jacob Beck (22) hands the ball off to Weldon Aydelott (35) as Robert Tutt (12) comes behind for the fake in Friday's AISA match-up in Linden, Ala. Marengo beat the Senators by a final score of 42-6. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

08-26-16 — Linden, Ala. — Marengo QB Jacob Beck (22) hands the ball off to Weldon Aydelott (35) as Robert Tutt (12) comes behind for the fake in Friday’s AISA match-up in Linden, Ala. Marengo beat the Senators by a final score of 42-6. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

The second half saw a more defined Longhorn team come out and post three more touchdowns before rounding out the night with 42 on the board. The final score of the contest was delivered by Hayden Megginson on a 5-yard run.

“We have a lot to work on. We made a lot of mistakes, and a lot of mental mistakes, and that’s on me,” said Tutt. “I’m proud for the kids now, big win for us, but we’ve got a tough one next week. It’s Monroe, and they’re really good.”

The Longhorns put up 454 yards of total offense to Morgan’s 155. 394 of those yards came on the ground, with another 60 through the air. Aydelott, who has seamlessly filled the role vacated by alum Hayden Huckabee, lead the MA ground attack by posting 161 yards of his own.

“He hasn’t missed a beat,” Tutt said of Aydelott’s work. “We’re not as explosive offensively, putting it in the end zone as quick as we can, but he’s a force. We’ll keep pounding.”

08-26-16 -- Linden, Ala. -- Marengo's Hayden Megginson (18) looks for running room in Friday's AISA match-up in Linden, Ala. Marengo beat the Senators by a final score of 42-6. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

08-26-16 — Linden, Ala. — Marengo’s Hayden Megginson (18) looks for running room in Friday’s AISA match-up in Linden, Ala. Marengo beat the Senators by a final score of 42-6. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

Marengo’s Beck completed 2 of 4 with no interceptions, finding Landon Houlditch on both completions.

The Longhorns were forced to punt twice in the contest with Tutt averaging 43.5 yards per.

Robert Tutt lead the defensive unit with seven tackles, an assist and a forced fumble.

The Longhorns travel to Monroeville next week to face Monroe Academy (1-1). Monroe lost to Bessemer Academy to open the season, 21-7, and beat Lee-Scott Academy tonight, 21-14. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.