Linden suffers first loss

LINDEN – Linden High School suffered its first loss of 2012 in its regular season finale, falling to a strong Class 2A Southern Choctaw Indian squad 33-13 at Linden Athletic Field Thursday night.

“We continued to fight to the end tonight,” said Linden head coach Andro Williams. “I’m real proud of our guys. They (Southern Choctaw) provided a real test for us, but we try to test ourselves every week and make sure we’re doing the things we need to do to win.

“We’ve got to do the small things that it takes to win, and we didn’t do that tonight,” he added. “We put the ball on the ground twice in the first half, and snapped the ball over the punter’s head one time. We’ve got to work on the fundamentals and keep trying to be the best we can be.”

Southern Choctaw, which closed out the regular season at 7-3 with its sixth straight victory, opened the scoring on a Danny Napier quarterback sneak early in the second quarter. The kick sailed wide right.

Linden responded two possessions later with an electrifying 89-yard  run by quarterback Anthony Robinson Jr. Linden’s kick also failed, leaving the score knotted 6-6 for a short time before SCHS broke on top again on a Gregory Hill fumble return that covered 74 yards.

Southern Choctaw took the 12-6 margin into the halftime locker rooms, and increased the lead to 20-6 in the third when Chris Powe scored from two yards out. Napier connected with Savon McCoy for the two-point conversion.

Early in the fourth, Linden cut the lead to six on a 62-yard Robinson-to-Jalen Lewis touchdown pass. Marquise Shelton kicked the extra point, but the Indians responded with a clock-milking drive capped by Quentin Adams’ five-yard run with 3:21 to play.

The Patriots responded with a drive deep into Indian territory, but an interception at the three-yard line ended the threat. Two plays later, Adams surprised the Patriot defense by bursting up the middle for 97 yards and the game’s final score.

Linden, which finished 9-1 and on top of Class 1A, Region 1, hosts Kinston in the first round of the playoffs next Friday night.