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Patriots exorcise Red Devils

MAPLESVILLE – The young and untested Maplesville Red Devils had no answer for Linden’s tandem of Maurice Tate and Shantrell Braxton in the Patriots’ 34-0 win.

The loss snapped a 25-game regular season winning streak for Maplesville (4-1, 4-1 in region), and it was the first shutout for the Red Devils since 2003.

“I’ve got to give them all the credit,” Linden head coach Andro Williams said about his players following the win.

The game plan for Linden (6-0, 5-0 in region) was simple: run Tate up the middle and run wide with Braxton. Tate finished with 180 yards and three scores on 28 carries while Braxton had 131 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries.

Maplesville was led by Hunter McCay with 56 yards on 10 carries followed by Chris Bailey 21 yards on seven carries.

Tate’s first score was a 1-yard run with 10:29 in the first quarter. Gerald Bruno added the extra point to make it 7-0.

The Red Devils defense stood tall for the rest of the half stopping the Patriots twice on fourth down.

“We know we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Williams said. “But we’re going to let these kids enjoy this one.”

Maplesville’s deepest threat came on their final possession of the first half. They drove it down to the 25-yard line thanks in part to a 34-yard

Matt Hamner run, but a fumble on fourth-and-1 with 1:00 left in the half ended the threat.

“We played one of our best football games,” Williams said. “Our kids bought into our plan. We used everything we had and did it well. We played well and didn’t give up the big play.”

Linden doubled the lead on Tate’s second score from 13 yards out at the 7:10 mark of the third quarter. Braxton then scored once in the fourth.

Larente Taylor also returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown.

Linden hogged the football all night, outnumbering Maplesville 60-44 in plays. In the first quarter alone, the Pats had 19 plays compared to just

three for the Red Devils.

The win moves Linden into the driver’s seat in 1A, Region 3. The Patriots have only Sunshine, John Essex and Autaugaville remaining in region play. Those teams have a combined record of 3-15 on the season. Linden will travel to Sunshine Friday night.