Linden vs. Georgiana (gallery)

Patriots clinch 1A, Region 1 title with win over Panthers

10-14-16 -- Linden, Ala. -- Linden's Dequan Charleston (7) runs past Marengo's Daryl McIntosh (28) during the Patriots' win over the Panthers.

10-14-16 — Linden, Ala. — Linden’s Dequan Charleston (7) runs past Marengo’s Daryl McIntosh (28) during the Patriots’ win over the Panthers.

It was a three-hour game of physicality Friday as the Linden Patriots hosted the Marengo High Panthers for the intra-county rivalry. The Patriots’ ability to score on offense, defense, and special teams helped lift them to a 56-22 victory as they clinched the Class 1A, Region 1 title.

The Panthers took the opening possession and drove across midfield to the Linden 42-yard line, but the Patriot defense stood strong and forced a 4th-and-3 situation. An offside call set the Panthers back five, creating a 4th-and-8 and forcing a 13-yard punt.

10-14-16 -- Linden, Ala. -- Marengo High's Quindaris Ausborne makes a leaping catch during the Panthers' game against Linden.

10-14-16 — Linden, Ala. — Marengo High’s Quindaris Ausborne makes a leaping catch during the Panthers’ game against Linden.

The Patriots took possession on their own 34-yard line and would strike first when Xavier McIntosh capped the 66-yard scoring drive on a 9-yard rush for a touchdown at the 2:04 mark in the first quarter.

C.J. Robinson would be the next Patriot to add to the board when he found the end zone on a 2-yard quarterback keeper, giving his team a 14-point lead with 8:17 to play in the second.

Facing a 4th-and-long, Davontae Poole batted down a Panther punt, and sophomore Graderius Brown scooped and scored from 34 yards out giving the Pats a 21-0 lead with 5:34 remaining in the second quarter.

The Panthers’ first trip to the end zone came at the 3:01 mark, when Calvin Ferguson punched it in from 4 yards out. The PAT failed, and the Panthers trailed by 15.

Gaining some momentum, Marengo put eight more on the board when Quidaris Ausborne picked up a Linden fumble and took it 50 yards for a touchdown. A two-point screen pass to De’Angelos Crispin made it 21-14 with 0:51 to play in the half.

A short four seconds later, Linden’s Isaiah Scott picked up the Panther onside kick attempt, taking it 55 yards for a touchdown and extending the lead to 28. At the half, Linden led, 28-14.

Linden’s deferred decision gave them the first possession of the second half, and Charles Blackmon Jr.,

10-14-16 -- Linden, Ala. -- Marengo High's De'Angelos Crispin (4) makes a catch over Linden High's Jonathan Biggs (23) during the Panthers game against the Patriots.

10-14-16 — Linden, Ala. — Marengo High’s De’Angelos Crispin (4) makes a catch over Linden High’s Jonathan Biggs (23) during the Panthers game against the Patriots.

added to the lead when he found the end zone on a 26-yard reception from C.J. Robinson. Linden opted to go for two and converted successfully, making it 36-14 at the 10:31 mark in the third.

Facing a 4th-and-long, Marengo attempted to convert but Linden’s Isaiah Scott came up with an interception, initiating the drive that would end when Blackmon again crossed the goal line, this time from 5 out, making it 43-14 with 9:39 remaining in the game.

With 6:22 to play, a mishandled Panther snap on a 4th-and-13 play gave the Patriots the ball at the Panther 21-yard line. Capitalizing on excellent field position, the Pats handed the ball off to Brown, giving him his second touchdown of the night when he hit the end zone from 12 yards out. With only 4:15 remaining in the game, Linden had a decisive lead at 50-14.

Not to be outdone, Marengo’s Ausborne took the ensuing kick 92 yards to put another six on the board, the first kickoff return for touchdown Linden has allowed this year. The Panthers’ two-point conversion was successful, making it 50-22 with 3:58 to go.

On their final possession of the night, the Patriots’ Scott took a 12-yard trek through enemy territory, shaking off two Panthers and stiff-arming another en route to the final touchdown of the night. A failed PAT made the final 56-22.

“We’ve just got to be more focused and not make the bonehead mistakes we made tonight,” said Marengo head coach Eberne Myrthil. “Those mistakes that we made tonight are the things that a good football team like Linden will capitalize on.”

The Patriots put up 399 yards of total offense to Marengo’s 194. While Linden found its success on the ground with 38 rushes for 289 yards, the Panthers’ success came through the air as they racked up 128 yards completing 7 of 14 attempts.

Eric Jenkins led the Patriot offensive with three carries for 87 yards, followed by Xavier McIntosh who brought in 12 carries for 75 yards.

“We find a way to score in our specialty game every week,” said Patriots head coach Andro Williams. “We scored in all three phases of the game, and that’s what we talked about all week. Moving forward, when we get in those games where it’s locked up scoreless, that gives us a weapon so we can find a way to score.”

Linden (8-0, 6-0) goes on to face J.F. Shields next Friday, while Marengo (5-3, 4-2) will host McIntosh.

10-14-16 -- Linden, Ala. -- Linden's Charles Blackmon, Jr. (6) makes a cut to elude a Marengo defender during the Patriots' game against the Panthers.

10-14-16 — Linden, Ala. — Linden’s Charles Blackmon, Jr. (6) makes a cut to elude a Marengo defender during the Patriots’ game against the Panthers.

Linden vs. Millry (gallery)

‘Dawgs, Panthers hash out differences in 1A region contest

09-09-16 -- Dixons Mills, Ala. -- Sweet Water's Jaylin Johnson (23) leaps over Marengo's Clarence Tolbert (51) in Friday's game at Marengo High School in Dixons Mills, Ala.  Sweet Water won the Class 1A Region 1 battle, 33-22. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

09-09-16 — Dixons Mills, Ala. — Sweet Water’s Jaylin Johnson (23) leaps over Marengo’s Clarence Tolbert (51) in Friday’s game at Marengo High School in Dixons Mills, Ala. Sweet Water won the Class 1A Region 1 battle, 33-22. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

It was everything you’d expect out of a Class 1A Region 1 rivalry Friday night when the Sweet Water Bulldogs made the short trip down to Dixons Mills to take on the Panthers of Marengo High School.

“That was a great game tonight, you played hard, but we’ve got more work to do,” Marengo head coach Eberne Myrthil told his Panthers following the 33-22 loss. “Never again. Never again. You don’t want to feel this way again, and neither do I. You’ve got to play from point A to point B”

Sweet Water would find the end zone first in the match-up when quarterback Jonah Smith connected with Will Huckabee for a 23-yard touchdown reception. The PAT off the foot of Smith put the ‘Dawgs up 7-0 with 3:07 to go in the first period of play.

The Panthers were quick to answer, setting the tone for the knock-down, drag-out game that would ensue when Quindaris Ausborne took the kickoff 86 yards. A two-point conversion pass from quarterback Cordarius Pritchett to Alphonzo Lewis Jr., was successful, giving the Panthers the edge, 8-6.

Marengo extended the lead at the 7:14 mark of the second quarter when Ausborne found Pritchett open for an 18-yard touchdown pass. A failed two-point conversion left the score at 14-7.

The Bulldogs tied it up heading into the half when Smith hit Trent Sams for a 78-yard touchdown reception with 5:43 to play. At the break, both teams were tied at 14.

Following the half, the ‘Dawgs put the pedal to the floor and never looked back.

09-09-16 -- Dixons Mills, Ala. -- Sweet Water's Jacory Brown (40) is wrapped up in a pile as Marengo's Clarence Tolbert (51) attempts to tackle him in Friday's game at Marengo High School in Dixons Mills, Ala.  Sweet Water won the Class 1A Region 1 battle, 33-22. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

09-09-16 — Dixons Mills, Ala. — Sweet Water’s Jacory Brown (40) is wrapped up in a pile as Marengo’s Clarence Tolbert (51) attempts to tackle him in Friday’s game at Marengo High School in Dixons Mills, Ala. Sweet Water won the Class 1A Region 1 battle, 33-22. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

After taking the kick to open second half play, Sweet Water punctuated a 4:14 drive when Shamar Lewis crossed the line from 6 yards out. The Smith PAT was no good, and with the Bulldogs on top 20-14, the Panthers would not be able to regain the lead for the remainder of the contest.

Sweet Water would go on to score twice in the fourth quarter, once on a 9-yard Smith run, and again on a Jaylin Johnson run, eventually extending the lead to 33-14.

Marengo found the end zone once more late in the fourth when Pritchett linked up with Christion Wright, Sr. Wright fumbled, but his own Clarence Tolbert was able to recover the fumble and score. A two-point pass from Pritchett to Roosevelt Thompson rounded out scoring for the night, leading to a final of 33-22.

“Too many mistakes tonight,” said Myrthil. “And at the end of the day, we were still in the game, but you can’t commit that many mistakes and beat a good team like Sweet Water.”

“This was a big region win for us,” said Sweet Water head coach Pat Thompson. “This is us getting back to Sweet Water football.”

The ‘Dawgs racked up 423 yards of offense in 61 plays while Marengo put up 165 yards in 35 plays. Of those 423 yards, 134 yards came through the air with 289 on the ground. Marengo relied more heavily on the pass game, with 125 yards coming through the air and 40 on the ground.

Sweet Water had 20 first downs to Marengo’s 11.

“We had too many turnovers to win a game like this,” said Myrthil.

Marengo committed four turnovers, two coming by way of interceptions and two on lost fumbles.

Sweet Water’s Smith went 5 of 9 on the night with two touchdowns, one interception, and rushed eight times for 57 yards and one touchdown.

Shamar Lewis lead the ground game for the ‘Dawgs with 109 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown, while Jaylin Johnson touched the ball 15 times for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Marengo’s Pritchett completed 9 of 14 attempts for 107 yards and two interceptions.

Alphonzo Lewis Jr., pulled in four receptions for 53 yards while Thompson lead Panther rushers with 28 yards on five carries.

“We’re just working on Sweet Water, that’s all we’re worried about,” said Thompson of the upcoming week of preparation for J.F. Shields. “This was a big confidence builder for our team and we’ll take that into next week with us when we play Shields.”

“This isn’t the same Marengo team that people were used to four or five years ago,” said Myrthil. “These guys want to win, and they have the talent to do it.”

With the win, Sweet Water (2-1, 2-0) will host J.F Shields next week while the Panthers (2-1, 1-1) will face another region foe as they travel to A.L. Johnson.

Marengo has little trouble with Millry

DIXONS MILLS, Ala.—Marengo is not joking around when it comes to competing in Class 1A. The Panthers looked to make that very clear Friday night when it dismantled Millry 47-14 to open Class 1A, Region 1 play.

The Panthers turned a 14-6 halftime lead into a laugher by with a 25-point third quarter en route to the victory.

Cordarius Pritchett was 8 for 12 through the air for 71 yards and a touchdown. He also added 76 yards and another score on the ground on 12 attempts. Alphonzo Lewis tallied 124 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Roosevelt Thompson had 105 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Calvin Ferguson ran for 64 and Quindaris Ausbon had 85 as the Panthers totaled 454 yards on 45 carries. Ausbon also returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Lewis also caught a 12-yard touchdown pass in the effort.

Christion Wright led the defense with eight tackles while Ronald Bouler had seven and two sacks. Curtis Autery had six tackles and a sack. Johnny Kennedy also had a sack.

The Panthers (2-0, 1-0) stay in region play next week when they host Sweet Water (1-1, 1-0) in what promises to be among the most intriguing match-ups of the season.