Patriots wary of McIntosh’s athleticism

LINDEN — The Patriots (3-0, 2-0) are off to the hot start that has become almost commonplace in the Andro Williams era. Still, Williams understands that his team is only two games into its region slate and is currently locked in a three-way tie for first in Class 1A, Region 1.

But none of that is what Williams speaks of when he talks about why Friday night’s contest against McIntosh (3-0, 2-0) is a key game for the Linden High squad.

“It’s the next game, so it’s a big game. We sit here with an opportunity to be 3-0 in the region for the first half of the season,” Williams, who has worked intently to keep his team focused week to week, said. “We know it’s a big game for that reason.”

In McIntosh, the Patriots encounter a team that is known, historically, for its speed and athleticism, a prospect that is scary to any coach.

“They’re a dangerous team because they can do things that may not be fundamentally correct a lot of times but they make up for it with their athletic ability,” Williams said. “We just know we’re going to have our hands full. We just want to make sure we do a good job of adjusting and playing physical with them and establishing ourselves early and often.”

Williams’ team learned firsthand how effective McIntosh can be at any given moment when the Patriots downed the Demons last year. While Linden won that contest 43-0, it is the Pats’ failures that stand out to Williams.

“We got stopped on fourth down three times last year against this bunch,” Williams said. “We know it could be a ball game in a hurry. We’re going to have to do things the right way in order to help ourselves. We have to play the game the right way in order to have a chance to win.”