• 37°

Linden cruises over A.L. Johnson

THOMASTON — When the host A.L. Johnson Eagles scored a touchdown on its opening drive, it looked like there might be a battle looming, but when the Linden Patriots scored on its first drive, and the next, and the next — the handwriting appeared to be on the wall.

Linden reached the endzone on all but one of its drives last night en route to the 69-6 final in this Class 1A Region 3 showdown.

Linden (3-0 overall, 2-0 in 1A-3) was led by Maurice Tate, who drove through the A.L. Johnson line — and then its secondary — at will, rushing 20 times for 226 yards and four touchdowns.

At halftime, Tate had 13 runs for 162 yards and two TDs.

When Tate wasn’t making big plays, it was Shantrell Braxton, who took 12 runs for 114 yards and two touchdowns.

A.L. Johnson (2-1, 2-1 1A-3) was paced by Cleophus Daniel, who had nine runs for 44 yards. Kejuan McGhee took a five-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter.

Five lost fumbles hampered the Eagles’ game, and Linden lost a fumble in the endzone.

“I’ll be anxious to look at the film and see how we looked up front,” said LHS coach Andro Williams. “I think we did a real good job up front. We had a lot of fresh guys up front. We played well defensively. We had one busted assignment, but we came back, we handled adversity, and we came out and did what we had to do.

“Our backs ran physical tonight. We wanted to come out and establish the line of scrimmage.

“Our whole offensive line – that’s been a real question mark for us, but they’re coming together. Our defense really rose to the occasion tonight, and I want to give them all the praise tonight. They did a really good job.”

Linden stays in the regional schedule when the Patriots host Holy Spirit next Friday. A.L. Johnson also continues its regional slate and stays at home, as the Eagles host Akron on Friday.