Linden focused on St. Jude

Linden will face St. Jude for only the second time ever Friday night when it travels to Montgomery for the second round of the AHSAA Class 1A state playoffs.

In the Pirates, Linden head coach Andro Williams anticipates an athletic team that can cause plenty of problems for any opponent.

“They’re a dangerous football team. They’re a very dangerous football team,” Williams said. “I think that they’ve got so many guys that can hurt you and go the distance on any given play.”

Williams described what the Pirates do defensively as “helter skelter,” noting that St. Jude will throw a bevy of looks at opposing offensive and use its athletic ability to make plays. With that in mind, the Patriots will be called upon to correct the turnover problems that plagued them in last week’s first round win over Kinston.

“We’ve got to play sound, fundamental. It doesn’t matter if we play sound, fundamental, coach them up and get them in position if we put the ball on the ground. It won’t matter,” Williams said.

St. Jude will enter the contest at 7-4, having suffered three of its losses by a three points or less. The Pirates have hung 36 points or more on the board six times this season, surpassing the 45-point milestone on four separate occasions.

“We’ve got to make sure we do a great job defensively of limiting those big plays. They’ve got three or four guys that can go the distance at any given time,” Williams said. “They’re a little bit all over the place. They can hurt you with throwing the ball out there quick. They can throw the jailbreak and hitch screens and, if you miss them, their guys can go the distance. And they can throw the ball down the field 50 yards and beat you there. We’ve got to tackle. They’ll get in a run formation and throw the football out of it. They try to isolate you.”

St. Jude offers Linden a unique look it has not seen since its fall Jamboree date against Pickens County.

The winner of Friday night’s contest between Linden and St. Jude will play the winner of Brantley and Billingsley in the third round next week.