The renewal of one of Class 1A’s best rivalries saw Linden wrest away control of the Region 1 Friday night with a big second half that resulted in a 35-7 win over Sweet Water.
“It went like I thought it was going to go. The game is won up front. I knew that this team is known to sell a brand of football that’s fast and physical like we try to sell,” Linden coach Andro Williams said of his team’s win. “We needed somebody like that tonight. We needed somebody that was going to hit us in the face and keep fighting. What I saw tonight was a Sweet Water team that knew how to fight that has tradition. That didn’t surprise me. We needed that. We needed that fight.”
Linden opened the scoring with 2:29 remaining in the first quarter when Xavier McIntosh scored on a 5-yard touchdown. Sweet Water answered with 9:24 left in the second when Shamar Lewis sprinted 21 yards for a touchdown. Jonah Smith tied with with the point-after kick.
Linden converted a pair of fourth and 10 situations before C.J. Robinson then hit Davontae Poole for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 6:40 left in the half for a 14-7 lead.
Robinson then found Isaiah Scott for a 38-yard touchdown strike with 6:45 left in the third quarter for the 21-7 advantage. After a couple of missed opportunities for Sweet Water, the Patriots put the game away with a 3-yard McIntosh touchdown run with 7:21 to play. Deauris Jones capped the scoring with a 1-yard plunge with 1:22 to go in the game.
The Patriots totaled 368 yards of offense while Sweet Water had 134. Linden did most of its damage on the ground, tallying 253 yards on 41 rushes. Sweet Water had 140 yards on 44 runs.
Robinson was 3 of 6 through the air for 115 yards and a pair of scores. Dequan Charleston led all rushers with 93 yards on nine carries. McIntosh added 65 yards and two scores on 10 attempts. DeAntonio Williams had 51 yards on 11 carries.
Lewis paced Sweet Water with 76 yards and a score on 13 carries. Jonathan Biggs and Dequan Charleston each intercepted a pass for Linden. Lewis picked one off for Sweet Water.
Linden (6-0, 4-0) remains in the county each of the next two weeks as it travels to Region 1 foe A.L. Johnson next week before hosting Marengo Oct. 14. Sweet Water (3-2, 3-1) hosts McIntosh next Friday night.