Linden set for marquee clash with Brantley

Linden and Brantley have played one another four times in Alabama high school football history. Each of those meetings have come with Andro Williams at the helm of the Patriot program.

The teams have split those meetings at 2-2 and the Patriots own the largest margin of victory with a 42-7 rout of the Bulldogs in 2010. But what matters most in the budding 1A rivalry is that the Bulldogs are 2-0 in postseason matchups with the Patriots.

“We have a lot of respect for this football program. Our kids have respect for them. Our coaches have respect for them,” Williams said. “They’re guys that try to do things the right way and we’re honored to have an opportunity to play against them. With them being the No. 1 team in the state and an undefeated football team, we’re fortunate to have a chance to play them.”

Brantley enters Friday’s second round playoff matchup at 11-0 and having won all but one game by double-digit margins. That was a 44-40 win in a Sept. 12 tilt against Georgiana.

While Brantley head coach Ashley Kilcrease has continued the success forged by former Bulldog coach David Lowery, the 2014 incarnation of his program boasts some unique attributes.

“Just looking at them, they’re very similar to the normal Brantley things. They’re going to run to the football well. They’re going to be real physical up front. They’ve got a Douglas Salter kid at linebacker, he’s about 6-1, 215 and he’s a man. He’s going to be the best football player on the field, I think. They do some things to get him all over the field,” Williams said. “This team’s a little bit different. They’re running back, Brandon Walker, he’s a different kind of running back. He’s not the kind of back they’ve had in the past as far as on the edge. He’s real physical. They’ve got Jacob Free at quarterback who is 6-5, 190-pound sophomore. He throws a real good ball. He isn’t one that is looking to run the football, but he can hurt you in that manner.”

While Brantley is fresh off a 40-6 win over Loachapoka, Linden heads to Crenshaw County after a 42-0 blowout of Chickasaw.

“I was pleased with the fact that, for the most part, we played smart football. I thought, defensively, we stayed in position. We had to make an adjustment through the course of the game on the offensive line and we did that,” Williams said. “I just think we did better in all three phases of the game. Any time you get a shutout, you’re definitely pleased with that part.”

The Patriots have reeled off six straight wins since opening the season 1-3, a streak Linden looks to extend Friday night in Brantley.

“We have been able to have other guys step up and do things for us. I’m just pleased to have a football team that is real unselfish,” Williams said. “They don’t care who gets the glory and who gets the credit. It’s just a team effort.”

Linden and Brantley are set to kick off at 7 p.m. Friday in Brantley.