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Linden rivalry game is Friday

LINDEN — Even though Friday night’s game against A.L. Johnson (2-0) carries with it all the usual implications of an intra-county rivalry, the Linden Patriots (2-0) are not treating it as such.

“Every game, we’ve got the same mentality. It doesn’t matter who we play,” senior linebacker and fullback Maurice Tate said. “It’s real big, man. But we’re going into the game with the same mentality. It doesn’t matter if it’s a region game or what.”

The Patriots, who bested Akron 64-20 last week, do not deny that there is some measure of pride on the line in the contest.

“Every year, they say they’re going to beat us,” junior wideout Larente Taylor said. “After we win, we get those bragging rights.”

Still, the team has reportedly approached the week of practice with the same intensity and determination as the previous two weeks.

“We preached to them about the fact that it’s a region game and it’s a big game and it’s the next game,” head coach Andro Williams said. “We can’t have any respect for persons. We’ve got to be able to be even keel.”

That philosophy is one Williams has been preaching to his team since his arrival in Linden. The second-year coach said he believes his team is finally grasping it.

“I think they are buying into it,” he said.

“This summer, we weren’t really clicking. Now we’ve come together,” Taylor said before consenting that the team still has not achieved its potential. “We’ve got to get better. We’re not where we want to be right now, but we’re going to step it up and get better.”

“We want to be perfect,” Tate said. “Perfection, that’s what we’re aiming for, because we could be (perfect).”