Linden looking to plunder Pirates

LINDEN — After sitting last week out due to John Essex’s forfeit, the Patriots are eager to return to action Friday night when they host Fruitdale to round out region play.

“I thought we came with some great energy for practices this week. I think that they are ready to play against somebody else,” Linden head coach Andro Williams said of his team’s renewed energy following the extra time off last week.

In the Pirates, Linden finds a 4-4 team that has utilized a unique offense under head coach Matt Moore.

“They put pressure on you with what they’re doing. They can sort of be in a strong run formation but at the same time they may have twins on the other side where they can throw the football over there. It really puts pressure on you defensively. It stretches you defensively,” Williams said. “But, at the same time, they’re able to throw their stuff and they’re able to run the football as well. And they do a pretty good job with the option game from what I can tell. It makes you either say you are going to sit back and let it develop or you are going to try to go up there and crank the band up quick.”

Williams said the keys for Linden’s defense Friday night will be adjusting to what the Pirates show offensively and containing Fruitdale’s most effective runner.

“We’ve got to do a great job of anticipating what we’re going to see and be able to make some adjustments if it is not going in our favor. We’ve just really got to dominate the line of scrimmage is the main thing. We feel like we have a chance if we don’t give up the big play,” Williams said. “They’ve got a kid, Kiandric Ward. He’s their real deal. He can run. He’s only about 165 pounds, but if he gets in front of anybody on our team, he is going to take it the distance. He’s stressed a lot of other people. If he gets loose, he’s out there and they do a great job of trying to utilize him and get him the football. They do a good job of mixing up what they’re trying to do.”

The Fruitdale defense has commonly run a 4-3 Cover 2 look over the course of the season. Williams said he anticipates the Pirates will show multiple defensive approaches Friday night.

“They run that against other people, but we also know that we’re probably going to see a 5-3 type look. Some people have hurt them on the edges a little bit. That’s something that we’ll look at,” Williams said. “We feel like we pose a problem for them as well, trying to be versatile, giving them different looks, being able to run the ball on the edge, up the middle and being to throw the football.”

The Patriots and Fruitdale are scheduled to kick off Friday night at 7 p.m.

LHS will wrap up its regular season against Southern Choctaw next Thursday in a game that has been rescheduled from its original Friday date due to the Marengo Academy Longhorns, who share a stadium with the Patriots, having earned the right to host their first round AISA playoff contest that night.