Kingwood one-and-done in playoffs
By BRANDON GLOVER / Special to the Reporter
LINDEN – Kingwood Christian entered its game at Marengo Academy Friday on a three game win streak and a reputation as a strong passing team, largely due to the arm of quarterback Nathan Pearce.
Marengo Academy came into the game off of its first loss on the road this season. Looking to jump back on the horse at home in the first round of the playoffs, Longhorn head coach Jesse Little watched tape and came up with a blitz package to unsettle Pearce. It worked, as Marengo downed Kingwood 47-19 in the first round of the AISA Class 2A playoffs.
“They put a lot of pressure on our quarterback,” said Kingwood Christian head coach Jerry Stearns. “You can’t throw if you are out there running for your life.”
The Lions completed only 8-of-18 passes in the face of the blitz, which forced Pearce to make some quick throws and resulted in four interceptions by the Longhorns. The Lions tried switching to the ground attack with some success from leading rusher Drew Davis, who had 17 carries for 148 yards – surpassing the team’s total rushing average of 133 in the game.
Marengo Academy didn’t have the same problem on offense.
“I said coming into the game we were going to run until we had to throw the ball,” said Little about the Longhorn strategy that lead to 418 rushing yards. “We did.”
The Marengo running backs were running downhill all night. Leading rusher, Andy Flowers, who had 164 yards on 11 carries, gave a preview of the running dominance to come on the first play following opening kickoff, when he hit the outside and hugged the sidelines for a 75-yard touchdown run. With 47 seconds off of the game clock, Marengo had a 6-0 lead they didn’t relinquish.
“On offense and defense they won the game in the trenches,” said Stearns.
Marengo Academy scored their second touchdown in the quarter off a 2-yard run from Jesse Morgan, and 19 seconds later Kingwood found the board as well off a 98-yard kickoff return from Cam Spinks.
Marengo scored twice in the second quarter – once from a 46-yard pass from Phillip Farmer to Kyle Schroeder and the other from a 36-yard run from Flowers. Flowers found the scoring strip again in the third off a 3-yard run, and Chris Whitaker and Rabe Hale finished of the scoring for the Horns in the fourth.
With a minute and 17 seconds remaining, the Lions again found the end zone when Davis capped off a 92-yard drive with a 12-yard run.