Linden focused on self down stretch

With three games remaining in the regular season, Linden is keeping its focus inward as it aims to prepare for postseason play.

“That’s what we do every week. So nothing has changed,” Linden head coach Andro Williams said of the team’s conscious effort to focus on itself each week rather than spending the bulk of its practice time on its opponents.

The approach has led Linden to a 7-0 record and an opportunity to clinch the region title Friday night with a win at John Essex and a Fruitdale loss to St. Luke’s. With the playoffs rapidly approaching, Williams said his team is attempting to get back to basics.

“We’ve got to work on the fundamentals,” Williams said. “If we can resort back to the fundamentals, we feel like we’ve got a chance.”

Despite having outscored opponents 317-35 this season and having finished as state runner-up in 2011, the Patriots still carry an underdog mentality on the state level.

“We’re going to continue to climb the mountain. We understand that we are a team that people don’t think we’re capable of competing on a week-to-week basis with the top three or four teams in the state,” Williams said. “We understand that. We don’t have a problem with that. We’ve got to continue to work on us and continue to get better as a team.”

The Patriots’ defining moment in terms of its statewide perception likely will not come this week as it travels to face region opponent John Essex, a team that finished last week’s contest against A.L. Johnson with only 10 players while playing just three minutes in each of the last two quarters of the game.

Linden and John Essex are currently scheduled to kick off Friday at 7 p.m. at JEHS.