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Just shy of perfection

The Patriots (9-0, 7-0) are a Friday night defeat of Aliceville away from completing a perfect regular season schedule.

“We were talking about it all summer,” senior Chris Olds said. “Going undefeated. I feel like we had the heart to do it. Last year we didn’t have the heart to do it. We have it in our mind and heart. Those are the only two things that count.”

That heart, combined with an imposing defense and effective ground game that has produced nearly 3,000 yards of rushing on the season, has led Linden to the cusp of regular season perfection.

“It’s important not only for this team, but for our community,” Linden head coach Andro Williams said. “We’re not going to get caught up in it. We’re just trying to give ourselves an opportunity to get better.”

While the notion that the Patriots need to improve is ludicrous to some, the team is quick to point out holes in its game.

“I feel like we’re 9-0 and we’ve played hard games,” senior Dante Keller said. “But we’re still not where we want to be yet. We’ve got to be disciplined. We’re not disciplined enough. We have too many penalties.”

In addition to working to become more disciplined, the Patriots emphasize their need to get stronger offensive line play.

“We need to get better on the offensive line,” Keller, who plays on the offensive and defensive fronts, said.

In addition to the opportunity to improve various aspects of their play, the Aliceville game provides the Patriots the chance to face a tough opponent on the road immediately before the 1A playoffs begin.

“Down the stretch somewhere, we may have to travel,” Williams said of his squad, which will open the 1A playoffs at home against Winterboro a week from Friday.

Even though his players are intently focused upon the task at hand, Williams is encouraging them to enjoy the moment and “have fun” Friday night.

“I’m real proud of our guys for the things they’ve accomplished,” Williams said.

“It’s good,” senior Greg Glover said of the feeling of completing a perfect region and having the opportunity to cap off an unblemished regular season tilt. “We’re doing our jobs.”