DORA — Linden blew a double-digit lead and overcame a double-digit deficit in the same night as it downed Class 5A Dora 33-28 Friday night.
The Patriots carried a 14-0 lead into the half before committing costly turnovers that set up quick strike opportunities for Dora to take the lead.
“We should have been up 28-0. We held them to no yards of offense. They had no first downs, no yards,” Linden coach Andro Williams said of the circumstance his team had created for itself through 24 minutes of play Friday.
Dora got on the board with 10:41 to go in the third quarter when Charles Clay scored on a 31-yard run to cut the deficit to 14-7. Four minutes later, Clay scored on a 55-yard run to tie the game for the Bulldogs.
‘The main thing is we didn’t capitalize on some opportunities in the third quarter. Plus we turned it over,” Williams said. “We fumbled in the third quarter twice. They ran four plays, two touchdowns. They got those 28 points off of four plays.”
The final minute of the third quarter saw a flurry of action in which the teams combined for three touchdowns in a 41-second span.
Ki’Juna Babbs scored on an 11-yard run with 41 seconds to go in the third, giving Dora its first lead of the night at 21-14. After Dora recovered a short kickoff, Babbs then scored again on a 32-yard run to put Dora up 28-14.
The Bulldogs kicked the ball short again, this time putting it into the hands of Javaris Goings who darted 65 yards for a score with 14 seconds remaining in the third, cutting the newly-minted Patriot deficit to 28-20.
Linden then recovered its own onside kick and found paydirt in the fourth quarter when D.J. Charleston went over the top to Tywon Smith for a 47-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 28-26.
With 3:03 to go in the game, Cordarius Scruggs scored on a 17-yard run to give Linden the 33-28 advantage.
“We went down 14 points and came back and took the lead with three minutes to go in the game and sealed it with our defense at the end,” Williams said.
Linden held Dora to 223 yards of total offense on the night. Devonta Poole paced the defensive effort with an interception and fumble recovery. Prentiss McQuiston ran for 89 yards on 15 carries while Scruggs had 72 yards on eight carries.
“This is what we wanted,” Williams said. “We knew it was going to be a ball game. It was a good opportunities for us. We needed a win like this. We hadn’t had a win like this in a while where we had to fight from behind 14 points. It was a playoff type atmosphere and a playoff type game. I was real proud of our kids for handling the adversity that we had.”
The Patriots (6-3) are set to host Chickasaw in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs next Friday while Dora (5-5) travels to East Limestone.
1sts – 15
Rush – 56-173
Pass – 4-10-85
Total – 258
Fumbles – 4/3
Ints – 0
Penalties – 6-55
Punts – 2-18
1sts – 6
Rush – 28-223
Pass – 0-4-0
Total – 223
Fumbles – 2/2
INTs – 1
Penalties – 6-45
Punts – 4-17