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Edna's hopes for Long football season on the line

Oct. 14, 2011 at 5:14 a.m.

Coach Wade Birchum watches as the Edna Cowboys Football team runs drills during practice Monday.KATHLEEN DUNCAN / KDUNCAN@VICAD.COM

EDNA - One of the few things in life larger than Edna left tackle Mac Long are the implications heading into a critical football game against a district and county rival Industrial.

At 6-feet-4 and 280 pounds, Long is instantly recognizable in Cowboy blue and white.

Long anchors one of the area's most balanced and explosive offenses, a unit that averages 185 passing yards and 234 rushing yards per game.

Both facets of the offense will have to be sharp against a Cobras' defense that has forced 16 turnovers in six games.

"Last Friday, we had a wake up call," Long said of the Cowboys' humbling 41-24 loss to Hitchcock. "It was heartbreaking. I have been depressed all weekend. Just the fact that this is a rivalry game and that we seniors are guaranteed only three more games. We hope its eight. We hope to go all the way."

Long wants to put off being a Houston Cougar for as long as possible. Don't get him wrong, he loves the program- and the fact Houston is undefeated and ranked No. 25 in the AP poll- but his current crop of teammates are very special to him.

"We have an awesome school. Everyone is passionate about what they do. We have guys out here after practice working out and everyone wants to win," Long said. "Since Coach (Mike) Pierce came here he's been at it for the last four years. Man, it's awesome to go to Edna."

The son of Donnie and D'Anna Long is a three-year member of the varsity, and a young man who prefers to lead by example on and off the field.

When asked what his weighted grade-point average is, Long simply responded it's "4.7-something."

He may be a three-star prospect by some recruiting services, but he is quicker to praise his fellow linemen, his quarterback, his running backs or even those calling the plays than to bask in the attention.

"He's someone you can depend upon," said Edna offensive line coach Dustin Nessel, who has become exceptionally close to No. 75 during Long's three years on the varsity. "No matter what happens, I have a cornerstone that the rest of the offensive line can feed off of and that's good."

Long was a center during junior high school, but was moved to his current position when he moved to the varsity. Nessel added Long is athletic enough to isolate him against defenders and allow the entire offensive line to do more schematically.

Rice, Wake Forest, Southern Alabama and UT-San Antonio also expressed interest in Long, but the fact the Cougars have a similar high-tempo offense to what the Cowboys currently run and that he will be close to home led him to commit to Houston. If it's possible to believe Long is the smallest of the three offensive lineman to commit to Houston. Jacob Abels from Fort Bend Austin and Needville's Blake Herman are also committed.

It's been quite a ride for Long, one he hopes will continue. If that is to happen - at the varsity level- his team has to find a way to beat Industrial (4-2, 1-1) on Friday, as well as upcoming games against Rice Consolidated (3-3, 1-2) and Hempstead (6-0, 2-0).

"Back in PeeWee daddy introduced it to me. I got out there and I started liking it more and more," Long recalled. "It's just something you do. It's not nature, but then again it's nature. My daddy is a hardcore football fan, and when you grow up around football it's all you know how to do. You don't know you are going to play college ball, until you start playing."

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