Linden wins over John Essex, 52-0

LINDEN  – A first quarter onslaught that included two safeties staked Linden High School to a 31-0 lead Friday as the Patriots rolled to an eventual 52-0 win over the razor-thin  John Essex Hornets at Linden Athletic Field.

“Regardless of the situation, we’ve still got to show up and do what we do best,” said Linden head coach Andro Williams. “We let our young guys get a lot of reps, and we’ve still got to work to get better.”

Linden wasted little time making a statement against the outmanned Hornets, who suited up only 12 players and played much of the game with 10 men on the field due to various minor injuries. After holding Essex on the opening series, the Patriots marched 47 yards in three plays, with Terrance Sanders scoring the game’s first points on a three-yard run. The kick was partially blocked, leaving LHS up 6-0 less than four minutes into the contest.

The Patriots quickly added to the lead when Demarcus Gilmore recovered an errant JEHS pitch at the one-yard line and Dewayne Charleston punched it in on a quarterback sneak on the next play. Charleston added the extra point to make the score 13-0.

Essex’s woes continued on the next series when a high punt snap led to a safety and a 15-0 Pat lead.

After Devontae Knox returned the free kick to the Hornet 24, Charleston hit a wide open Kynard Craig over the middle for a 19-yard score, and Linden boosted the lead to 29-0 moments later when Charleston hit Craig on an 11-yard slant and Sanders ran the two-point conversion.

The first quarter scoring ended when a low shotgun snap in the end zone resulted in Linden’s second safety of the quarter.

In the second period, Linden rounded out the night’s scoring on touchdown runs by Knox and Henry Lee, with a Christopher Robinson-to-Dequan Charleston touchdown pass in between.

Following halftime Homecoming festivities, the third and fourth quarters were shortened to four minutes each. John Essex ran two offensive series – gaining its first and only first down on the next-to-last play of the game – while Linden got the ball only once in the second half.

With the win, Linden advances to 6-2, while Essex falls to 0-8.

After the game, Williams spoke to the John Essex players as both teams huddled at midfield, praising the visiting Hornets for not giving up.

Essex head coach Keonn Nettles shared the same sentiment about his team. “We’re just preaching to them to keep fighting. Our goal is to finish out the season,” Nettles said.

Next week, Linden travels to Fruitdale, while John Essex travels to McIntosh.