Offense, special teams lift Linden over Washington County

09-29-17 — Linden, Ala. — Linden’s Isaiah Scott (1) returns a punt 65 yards for a touchdown late in Friday night’s game against Washington County. The Patriots went on to win by a final score of 49-34. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

LINDEN — The Bulldogs of Washington County set the tone early in the opening drive Friday night against Linden as a high snap sailed over the punter and through the back of the end zone in a fourth-and-long situation, giving Linden the early 2-0 lead.

Once ahead, the Patriots never looked back, upending the Bulldogs 49-34.

After an early start, the Pats went on to return the ensuing free kick 60 yards, making it 9-0 with only 2:35 off the clock.

“It was nice for us to get ahead quick, but what I stressed to my guys is that we couldn’t let up,” said first-year Linden head coach Demetrice Jackson.

Washington County answered with a Cade Glass quarterback sneak from a yard out, making it 9-7 at the 7:44 mark.

Douglas Johnson would give the Pats their next score on a 3-yard rush. A failed PAT made it 15-6 with 3:46 to play in the opening period.

Senior Isaiah Scott then pulled in a 54-yard pass from Graderius Brown, giving Linden a solid 21-6 lead with only 36 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Not to be outdone, the ‘Dawgs found the end zone from 6 yards out and successfully converted a two-point conversion, making it 21-14 in the second quarter.

An ensuing onside kick attempt recovered by Linden gave the good guys the ball at their own 36.

A series of turnovers would see Linden’s Brown fumble, giving Washington County the ball on their own 46. Linden’s Markell Williams then intercepted a Glass toss on the ‘Dawgs 41-yard line. Driving again, Linden fumbled and Washington County recovered on their own 32, but would not find their way to six as Timothy Thurman went up to intercept a pass on the Pats’ own 42-yard line.

A fourth-and-2 attempt by Linden failed and gave WCHS possession on the 50-yard line.

09-29-17 — Linden, Ala. — Linden’s Timothy Thurman Jr., (24) looks for running room in Friday night’s game against Washington County. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

Glass once again found the end zone from a yard out, tying it up at 21 all with 2:23 to play in the opening half, but the Pats would have none of that. Kevin Green took it 55 yards for a touchdown, and with a successful PAT, the Patriots went to the locker room with a 7-point lead at 28-21.

“We wanted to come out tonight and put together a good showing in all three phases of the game—offense, defense, and special teams. I feel like we were able to do that,” said Jackson.

Linden took the opening kick of the second half but came up empty-handed, and allowing Washington County to again tie the game at 28 when Glass scored on a 17-yard run.

Three minutes later, a 30-yard pass from Brown to Scott on a 4th-and-one from the 30 put the Pats back on top at 34-28.

The final period saw Linden score twice, once on a 7-yard rush from Brown, and again on a 65-yard punt return by Scott.

Washington County rounded out scoring for the night on a 14-yard touchdown run, finalizing the game at 49-34.

“I think our kids were up for the competition tonight, especially after we lost last week to Millry,” said Jackson.

Linden (3-2, 2-1) travels to face region foe Sweet Water (3-1, 3-0) next Friday.

“We’ll enjoy this one tonight, but it’s back to work for us on Monday,” said Jackson.

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)

Linden plunders Pirates in 61-0 skunking

LINDEN, Ala.—Just about everybody in a Linden Patriot jersey got on the field Friday night as the perennial 1A powerhouse wasted little time dispatching of Fruitdale in a 61-0 romp.

The Patriots hung 33 points one the board in the second quarter to runs to a 47-0 halftime lead. Davontae Poole opened the scoring by returning a blocked punt 35 yards for a touchdown with 4:06 to play in the first quarter. Deauris Jones then punched it in from two yards out with 13.8 second to play to stretch the advantage to 14-0.

Linden scored five times in the second quarter as C.J. Robinson hit Isiah Scott for touchdown passes of 32 and 15 yards respectively. Scott also scooped a fumble and returned it for a touchdown. Jones added an 18-yard touchdown run while Charles Blackmon had a 9-yard scoring run.

The third quarter saw Eric Jenkins score on a 15-yard run while Timothy Thurman got his first varsity touchdown with a fourth quarter sprint of 15 yards.

The Patriots held Fruitdale to 70 yards on 42 snaps. The Pirates fumbled the ball seven times but were fortunate to only lose two. Linden managed 266 yards on the ground and 62 more through the air on 37 snaps.

Jones led the ground game with 45 yards on six carries. Justin Jenkins had 10 tackles on defense. Graderius Brown had a pair of sacks. Chris Virgess forced two fumbles.

Despite the offensive and defensive numbers, it was another component of the game that most impressed Linden coach Andro Williams.

“I thought our special teams was solid tonight. Defensively, for the most part, we got off the field. That’s what you want. We got better from last week to this week. I know we got better this week on special teams. We moved the ball offensively and we were explosive when we did it,” Williams said. “I was real pleased with our younger guys when they came in the game. I thought we moved the ball with those guys as well. I was real proud of my defense too.”

Linden (2-0, 1-0) is set to travel to McIntosh next week.