Marengo Academy vs. Chambers – gallery

FINISHED: ‘Horns bring title back to Linden

11-18-16 -- Troy, Ala. -- Marengo Academy's Cameron Peppenhorst (45) cuts behind the block of Collin Sheffield (66) on a run during the Longhorns' state championship victory over the Chambers Academy Rebels.

11-18-16 — Troy, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s Cameron Peppenhorst (45) cuts behind the block of Collin Sheffield (66) on a run during the Longhorns’ state championship victory over the Chambers Academy Rebels.

TROY – “Our word this week was ‘finish.’ This group started as freshmen and they’ve been here (the state championship game in Troy) every year,” head coach Webb Tutt said of his seniors before the game. “We need to find a way to finish and somebody needs to step up and make a play.”

“Finish” has been a recurring theme all year for the Marengo Academy Longhorns. After falling behind by 13 early to the Chambers Academy Rebels, the ‘Horns recovered and did just that – finish. Weldon Aydelott followed up a 202-yard performance last week against Abbeville with a 215 yard performance against Chambers. And the final defensive stand was finished by a Landon Houlditch sack of Chambers’ quarterback Malik Lyons.

11-18-16 -- Troy, Ala. -- Marengo Academy's Weldon Aydelott races for a 49-yard touchdown run during the Longhorns' state championship victory over the Chambers Academy Rebels.

11-18-16 — Troy, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s Weldon Aydelott races for a 49-yard touchdown run during the Longhorns’ state championship victory over the Chambers Academy Rebels.

The Rebels took little time to open a lead on the Longhorns when Lyons ran 52 yards around his right end with 10:29 to go in the first quarter. The PAT failed and the Rebels took a 6-0 lead.

On the Rebels next possession, Lyons went around his left end for a 51-yard touchdown run. The PAT was successful and the Rebels stretched out to a 13-0 lead with 7:03 to go in the first.

The Longhorns would finally respond at the 4:21 mark of the first when Jacob Beck dove in from 1-yard out. Megginson’s PAT was good and the Longhorns cut the Rebel lead to 13-7, which is where the score would remain at the end of the first quarter.

A 12-yard run by Jordan Gillespie at the 6:39 mark of the second quarter and a successful PAT would stretch the Rebel lead to 20-7.

Undaunted, the Longhorns drove down the field and Beck found Houlditch on a 10-yard pass for a touchdown at the 4:12 mark of the second quarter. Megginson’s PAT made the score 20-14 in favor of the Rebels. The score would remain unchanged as the first half ended.

The Longhorns would strike first in the second half. Aydelott would score the first of his three second half touchdowns at the 9:32 mark of the third quarter on a 49 yard run. Megginson’s PAT gave the ‘Horns a 21-20 lead.

11-18-16 -- Troy, Ala. -- Marengo Academy's Gavin Tate hauls in a 36-yard pass completion during the Longhorns' state championship victory over the Chambers Academy Rebels.

11-18-16 — Troy, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s Gavin Tate hauls in a 36-yard pass completion during the Longhorns’ state championship victory over the Chambers Academy Rebels.

Not to be outdone, Lyons scored on a 67-yard run only 17 seconds later. The PAT was successful and the Rebels took a 27-21 lead at the 9:15 mark of the third quarter. Neither team would score for the remainder of the quarter.

After a change of possession, Daniel McCray gave the Longhorns the ball on a short field after a big stop on a fourth-and-9 conversion attempt by the Rebels. Aydelott would later pound it in from one yard out at the 9:13 mark of the fourth quarter. Megginson would add another PAT and the Longhorns would take a 28-17 lead.

Chambers final touchdown of the day came on a 4-yard Lyons run with 3:52 to go. The 2-point conversion failed but the Rebels were back on top of the Longhorns, 33-28.

Finish. Trailing by five, the Longhorns would use a fourth down conversion and a key 36-yard pass to Gavin Tate to move into scoring position. Aydelott would score his third and final touchdown of the game on a 7-yard run at the 1:17 mark of the fourth quarter. Leading 34-33, the Longhorns would unsuccessfully attempt a 2-point conversion.

Finish. On fourth down of the Rebels last possession, Houlditch used his last defensive play as a Longhorn to sack Chambers’ Lyons and turn the ball over to the Longhorns and effectively end the game with eight seconds to go.

11-18-16 -- Troy, Ala. -- Marengo Academy's D.J. Nettles (61) and Landon Houlditch (80) watch as Weldon Aydelott (35) scores the game winning touchdown during the Longhorns' state championship victory over the Chambers Academy Rebels.

11-18-16 — Troy, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s D.J. Nettles (61) and Landon Houlditch (80) watch as Weldon Aydelott (35) scores the game winning touchdown during the Longhorns’ state championship victory over the Chambers Academy Rebels.

One snap to run out the clock and the Longhorns finished as the AISA Class 1A state champions for 2016 be defeating the Chambers Academy Rebels by a final score of 34-33.

“It felt like we fought up-hill all day until the last drive. We got a little momentum going,” Tutt added after the game. “The resiliency, the heart – they have no quit in them. It doesn’t matter the circumstances. They keep coming and keep playing. They kept battling and never gave up.”

Offensively, Aydelott led the Longhorns with 215 yards on 28 carries with three touchdowns. Tate added 38 yards on five carries and Cameron Peppenhorst added 32 yards on 8 carries. Beck was 3 for 8 for 61 yards and a touchdown. The Longhorns totalled 278 yards rushing on 52 attempts and added 94 yards on 4 for 9 passing.

Defensively, McCray led the Longhorns with eight tackles and two assists. Aydelott added eight tackles, Robert Tutt contributed seven tackles and Collin Sheffield tallied six tackles and three assists.

The Longhorns end the 2016 season with a record of 11-1 and a state championship trophy.

11-18-16 -- Troy, Ala. -- Marengo Academy's Landon Houlditch (80) sacks Chambers Academy's Malik Lyons on the Longhorns' final defensive play of their state championship victory over the Chambers Academy Rebels.

11-18-16 — Troy, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s Landon Houlditch (80) sacks Chambers Academy’s Malik Lyons on the Longhorns’ final defensive play of their state championship victory over the Chambers Academy Rebels.

MA honors girls state champion basketball team

ma girls teamMarengo Academy honored its 2013-14 Class 1A girls state champion basketball team at halftime of Friday night’s football game against Clarke Prep. The Lady Longhorns compiled a perfect 27-0 mark on the way to the state title.

11-22-2013 Marengo Academy vs. Restoration Academy (gallery)

Teamwork, desire create Marengo dynasty

What is happening down in Linden is nothing short of remarkable. The little bitty private school with the big tradition has found a way to keep winning.

Marengo Academy has suffered its lumps over the years and the rumors of its demise have often been exaggerated. Still, there are certain areas of Longhorn life that never seem to be fazed by everything else going on in the world.

Case and point: softball. The Lady Longhorns spent years on the verge of winning their first AISA fast pitch championship only to be deterred year after year in the title game at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park.

Todd Mathis finally helped his bunch break through that glass ceiling in 2010 with its first state championship win. As Mathis stepped away from a successful run and handed the reins to Danny Stenz, hardly anyone at Marengo batted an eye.

In the three seasons since, Stenz has continued to add to the legacy that Mathis, David Stokes and so many others helped to forge. Saturday, he led his team to a third consecutive state championship. All of this comes in addition to the junior high state titles Stenz won with MA softball and the state tournament runs he has made at the head of the girls basketball program in recent years.

What Danny Stenz is managing to do – he will tell you – has very little to do with him and has everything to do with the girls he feels privileged to coach. But what Stenz is doing is nothing short of astounding.

The little-known head coach who does this on the side and solely for love of the game or love of the girls or love of the school or, perhaps, the love of a hectic schedule, is starting to get some recognition.

Stenz earned West Alabama Watchman Coach of the Year honors in basketball. He also earned the Alabama Sports Writers Association AISA Coach of the Year award for the same sport.

While quantifying his career may not be entirely possible until he walks away for good, Stenz is working on a Marengo County Sports Hall of Fame caliber run.

Think about it this way. How many other coaches in the history of Marengo County have earned three consecutive state titles in any given sport? How many have led their team to a state title game in another sport? Now, how many have done it for little to no compensation?

Add all that to the fact that Stenz is not done yet and you have the makings of something potentially special.

Stenz will say that none of this is really because of him. But, the truth is, that Stenz is only a piece of a rare orange and white tapestry of volunteers, parents and a veritable traveling circus of supporters.

Currently, the school employs only one full-time coach: headmaster, athletic director and football coach Robby James.

Volleyball, boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball, softball and their junior high counterparts are all left to willing helpers like Stenz, Eddie Edwards, Mike Henderson, Larry Huckabee and so many others.

And, somehow, The Big Orange Stampede has just kept running downhill, picking up speed and avoiding every potential stumbling stone along the way.

They may have to face teams like Edgewood, which hired its softball coach from Central-Phenix City and routinely poaches athletic leaders with robust resumes. The enrollment numbers may not compare to those of their competition. And some years may be a little leaner than others in certain sports. But, at the end of the day, their rallying cry is their mantra and it says all they ever need to say: They are Marengo.

Marengo earns fourth straight state crown

The Marengo Academy Lady Longhorns won their fourth consecutive state championship Saturday at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.

The Marengo Academy Lady Longhorns won their fourth consecutive state championship Saturday at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.

MONTGOMERY — Marengo Academy (27-3) earned its fourth consecutive AISA state title Saturday night with an 8-2 win over Lakeside School in the final round.

“It gets better every year. I enjoy this more than anything,” Marengo Academy head coach Danny Stenz said of the dynasty the MA program has built. “I think the one thing I could pick out (that is key to our success) is desire. They all have the desire.”

Andrea Edmonds struck out 11 in the final game and issued her only two walks of the entire tournament to get the win.

“I thought as a freshman last year, she had a tremendous performance,” Stenz said. “This year, I think she was even better.”

Her dominant performance included striking out the side in the seventh to end the contest. She also homered in the game.

Seniors Katie Tucker and Reesa Holifield, sophomore Andrea Edmonds and junior Chandler Stenz each earned AISA Class A All-Tournament honors Saturday. Stenz earned the Most Valuable Player nod.

Seniors Katie Tucker and Reesa Holifield, sophomore Andrea Edmonds and junior Chandler Stenz each earned AISA Class A All-Tournament honors Saturday. Stenz earned the Most Valuable Player nod.

Marengo opened the scoring in the first when eventual tournament MVP Chandler Stenz walked, stole second, moved to third on an Anna Michael Crocker sacrifice bunt and scored on a passed ball.

“They’re very unselfish,” Stenz said of his team’s approach to the game. “If I ask them to sacrifice bunt and give themselves up, they do it. Every time I called a sac bunt these last two days, it was down.”

The Lady Longhorns added to the lead in the second when Edmonds stroked a two-run shot to score herself and Conner Etheridge.

Lakeside made it a ballgame in the third with a two-spot of their own. But Marengo scarcely slowed down, scoring in every inning on the way to the win.

Stenz walked to open the third, stole second, moved to third on a grounder by Crocker and scored on a RBI grounder by Katie Tucker.

Stenz struck again in the fourth with a two-RBI double to plate Etheridge and Taylor Barley.

Marengo added another run in the fifth when Etheridge hit a RBI single to score Reesa Holifield, who reached via her second double of the contest.

The final run of the game came when Barley reached on a bunt single, stole second and scored on a Stenz RBI double.

Edmonds wrapped up the tournament with 24 strikeouts over 26 innings of work and limited opposing teams to only eight runs combined over four games.

Edmonds joined Tucker, Holifield and Stenz on the All-Tournament Team. For Chandler Stenz, MVP honors came just one day after an ankle injury forced her from the first game of the tournament.

“She’s a tough kid. She’s a tough out,” Danny Stenz said, turning his focus to how his second baseman and leadoff hitter has developed this season. “She’s a dual threat really. She can lay it down. And she’s developed a little more pop in her bat.”

The win marked the final contest for six MA seniors who will graduate never having finished any less than state champions.

“I’ve had these seniors since they were in the seventh grade,” the Marengo head coach said. “I can’t even begin to tell you how much they’ve meant to the program. I’ve coached them since they were nine or 10 years old probably. They’re so competitive. They’re hard to beat.”

MA holds off Lakeside, moves to title round

MONTGOMERY — Despite the best efforts of Lakeside’s Chelsea Jones, Marengo Academy (26-3) pulled out an 8-5 win in its first game of AISA Class A state tourney action Saturday.

After a five-hour weather delay, Jones did her dead level best to keep Lakeside out of the losers bracket with a 3-for-3 afternoon that included a double, two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored.

Jones also held the Lady Longhorns scoreless in five of the seven innings the teams played in the contest. The MA bats, however, were just hot enough in the third and fourth innings to help MA through to the championship round.

Alexia Johnson opened the third with a single before Taylor Barley looped a bunt over the head of the Lakeside third baseman. Chandler Stenz moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt before Anna Michael Crocker walked to load the bases with one out. A Katie Tucker grounder erased Johnson at the plate and left the Lady Longhorns with the bases loaded, two outs and Reesa Holifield at the plate. On the first pitch she saw, the MA senior catcher hit her second grand slam in as many weeks to put the Lady Longhorns up 4-0.

The fourth saw Andrea Edmonds start the rally with a leadoff walk before giving way to courtesy runner Payton Stokes, who scored on a RBI double by Johnson. A RBI infield single by Stenz plated Johnson for the 6-0 lead. Barley, who reached on a bunt single for a second time, scored on a passed ball for the 7-0 lead. Crocker picked up the RBI on a grounder that scored Stenz for the 8-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the fourth, Lakeside began whittling away at the lead when Jones doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a Lindsay Hulsey single with two outs.

Jones then ripped a solo shot in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 8-2. The bottom of the seventh saw Sydney Williams reach on a bloop single and Hannah Killingsworth leg out an infield hit before Jones blasted a three-run shot for her eighth homer of the season.

Other MA hits in the game included a first inning double by Stenz, a Johnson single in the fifth and a Crocker infield hit in the sixth.

The Lady Longhorns defeated Edgewood and Ashford Friday to get to the pivotal winners bracket game against Lakeside.

Edmonds struck out five batters in the win for MA, bringing her total on the weekend to 13 Ks in 19 innings of work. She is expected to take to the rubber again at 7 p.m. when the Lady Longhorns head into championship play against the team that emerges from the losers bracket. The Lady Longhorns are seeking their fourth consecutive AISA state title.