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.

Linden offense gets rest in 68-0 thrashing of Choctaw County

10-27-16 -- Linden, Ala. -- Timothy Thurman lifts Johnathan Biggs in celebration as the fourth quarter starts in Thursday night's game in Linden. Linden led by a score of 68-0 going into the fourth and went on to beat Choctaw County by a final of 68-0, finishing the regular season with a 10-0 record. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

10-27-16 — Linden, Ala. — Timothy Thurman lifts Johnathan Biggs in celebration as the fourth quarter starts in Thursday night’s game in Linden. Linden led by a score of 68-0 going into the fourth and went on to beat Choctaw County by a final of 68-0, finishing the regular season with a 10-0 record. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

Linden could have left its offense out of the equation Thursday night as its trounced Choctaw County 68-0 to cap a 10-0 regular season. The Patriots put 14 points on the board before ever taking a snap en route to building a 61-0 lead in an unflinchingly dominant first half. By the time the second quarter came to a close, Linden had run six offensive plays and scored six offensive touchdowns.

“Wow,” Linden coach Andro Williams said when learning of the uncanny statistic. “I’ve said every week up to this point that what’s different about this team is that it’s more explosive in the special teams part and the defensive part. I think we’ve gotten in the end zone every single game. All our checks are we look for every game, we have them. We try to limit the big play on the run and the pass every game and then try to get a score on special teams and on defense. That’s what we’ve been able to do the second half of the season anyway. We’ve found ways to get in the end zone. If we continue to do that, we feel good about us moving forward.”

Dequan Charleston opened the scoring less than two minutes into the contest with a 45-yard punt return. He repeated the feat from 62 yards away less than two minutes later to stretch the lead to 14-0.

The Linden offense took the field for the first time with about five minutes left in the first quarter. The drive proved short-lived as the Pats covered 53 yards in four plays and capped the possession with a 27-yard touchdown run from Charles Blackmon.

Linden’s fifth play of the contest saw C.J. Robinson sprint 52 yards for a score with 1:00 left in the first quarter. Isaiah Scott added to the Choctaw County misery with a 23-yard interception return for touchdown, the third non-offensive touchdown of the first quarter.

Charleston got involved in the action again with 10:55 to play in the second quarter when he picked off a pass and took it 37 yards for a touchdown to push the advantage to 41-0. DeAntonio Williams later scooped up a shanked punt and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to move the lead to 47-0.

With 4:04 left in the second quarter, Graderius Brown blocked a Tiger punt that Johnathan Biggs scooped and returned for a 5-yard touchdown and a commanding 54-0 lead. DeAntonio Williams then forced and recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, allowing the Linden offense to take the field for only the third time in the game. The drive lasted one play as Xavier McIntosh sprinted 21 yards to the end zone for the 61-0 lead.

With the starters having taken only five snaps in the first half, Andro Williams still opted to play his second unit in the third quarter. Brown made the most of the opportunity with a 10-yard touchdown run to punctuate the scoring.

“We did what we wanted to do. That was our goal. We set out to try to finish region champions and put ourselves to be undefeated region champions at the end of the year,” Andro Williams said of his team’s 10-0 mark. “That’s our goal every year. The fact that we ended up as region champions was the biggest part of it. But, again, we wanted to try to make sure we could finish undefeated. It’s a twofold thing. If we weren’t undefeated, we would still be ready to start this new season. We’re going to try to come back in here Monday and get ready for the playoffs with Houston County. That’s where we’re at.”

Linden ran only 19 offensive plays in the game and tallied 215 yards. The Tigers ran 35 plays for 46 yards. Deauris Jones paced the defense with 10 tackles including two for loss. DeAntonio Williams contributed seven tackles with three for loss to go along with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Christopher Virgess had a sack as part of a three TFL performance.

Linden (10-0) hosts Houston County Friday night in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs.

“They, undoubtedly have a good football team. I think that region is a little bit better than what we’re thinking as a whole. We’re expecting a good football team to roll in here Friday night. I know the head coach and he has done a good job,” Andro Williams said. “They went 1-9 last year and coming back and winning six games this year and with probably an opportunity to win some of those games and be sitting as the second seed in that region instead of the four seed. We’ve got to be ready when they get here.”

Agee hangs 34 in Linden victory

SWEETWATER—Fifth ranked Linden (5-0) prevailed in comfortable fashion yet again Tuesday, leashing the hosting Bulldogs of Sweet Water early en route to a 78-41 Patriot victory.

“I liked our shot selection,” Linden coach Andro Williams said of a squad that went to the floor seemingly all game long. “I thought we took high percentage shots most of the game tonight.”

LHS began the parade of easy looks right from the tip Tuesday, capitalizing on its size advantage in both the front and backcourts. The mismatch in size saw Kynard Craig and Imoras Agee gobble up four easy points apiece to give Linden an early advantage of 8-2.

A Sweet Water timeout looked to breathe new life into the home team as SWHS would answer back with a run of its own. Demarcus Gamble’s 3-point basket out of the timeout was followed by a put-back to bring the score within one. Daniel Sewell’s patent floater after an LHS turnover gave the Bulldogs its first and only lead of the contest at 9-8 with 1:25 remaining in the opening period.

The Bulldogs would try a different approach to begin the second period by forcing Linden to earn its points via free throws. The strategy didn’t pay off, however, as the Patriots went a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe on the way to an 11-0 run to begin the period.

SWHS’ Xavier Norwood and Gamble would stop the bleeding momentarily thanks to back-to-back 3-point buckets, bringing the Bulldogs back to within 10 with 5:11 showing before intermission.

All Linden did was answer back immediately and forcefully. A 14-4 run consisting of tough post play from Patriot postmen Chris Rogers and Craig enabled Linden to enter the break with a more than comfortable margin of 39-to-20.

Linden’s Agee finished his monstrous first half, converting on all 10 free throw attempts and shooting 3-of-4 from downtown. Agee’s 23 first half points bested the entire Bulldog squad by three.

The third period saw Williams amp up his defense. The Patriots’ full-court press forced five Bulldog turnovers on SWHS’ first six possessions. The Pats converted all five miscues into points as they used the hot second half start to put things to bed rather hastily—with the score after three in favor of LHS 61-26 before gliding to victory by a final of 78-41.

“Our defense played good in spurts tonight,” Williams said of his squad’s third quarter defensive attack. “We’re still not there though. We have to play better, consistent defense throughout the course of the game.”

Linden will look to do just that Thursday when it takes on R.C. Hatch at the Demopolis High Christmas Tournament at 7 p.m.

Agee finished his evening with 34 points including 5-of-7 from beyond the three-point arc.

Rogers finished in double figures for Linden as well with 13 points.

Savon Parker dropped in eight followed by Craig with seven.

Sewell led the attack for Sweet Water, finishing with 17 points.

Xavier Norwood threw in 14 of his own followed by an eight-point outing courtesy of Gamble.