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Linden routs Akron in region opener

LINDEN — Linden scored its first points on a safety seven seconds into the game and never looked back en route to a 57-0 win over region opponent Akron Friday night.

On the first play from scrimmage, Patriot nose guard Brian Santana broke through the line and brought down the Ram ball carrier in the end zone for a safety.

“I felt like we came out and tried to establish ourselves on that side of the ball,” Linden head coach Andro Williams said of his defense’s effort.

After the ensuing safety punt, Julian Little broke a 35-yard run into the end zone for an apparent score. The play was called back on a block in the back, setting up Kendarius Fritts for a 44-yard run to the AHS three. He finished the job himself on the next play. Anthony Robinson hit Najee Bright in the end zone for the two-point conversion attempt, pushing the score to 10-0.

After forcing a three-and-out, Linden needed only one play to hit paydirt, again. Robinson found Larente Taylor on an underneath route. The senior quickly turned up field, bolting 36 yards for the score. The extra-point attempt failed, leaving it at 16-0.

On the first play of the Rams’ next possession, defensive lineman Terrance Lucas recovered a botched snap at the AHS 18. Two plays later, Robinson hit Bruno for a nine-yard TD strike.

The Linden defense pitched another three-and-out on the next possession, setting up a six-play, 60-yard drive that culminated in a 20-yard touchdown pass to Taylor.

The extra-point kick from Bruno pushed it to 29-0.

“I thought Ant threw the ball well,” Williams said of Robinson, who ended his night after two quarters, going 5-of-6 through the air for 91 yards and three touchdowns. “I felt like we blocked better than what we did last week. I felt like we continued to get better up front, blocking wise.”

Two plays later, Terris Lewis intercepted a pass and returned it 33 yards for a score. The point after made it 36-0, ending the Pats’ first quarter scoring.

“I didn’t think we kept our intensity the way we needed to,” Williams said of his team’s drop off following the game’s opening quarter.

After yet another three-and-out, Linden went 60 yards on three plays. A 22-yard pass to Taylor and a 35-yard run by Rashad Hollins set up a three-yard Keiunta Goodwill run. Hollins’ point after dive made it 44-0.

Linden continued pouring it on during its next defensive stand, pushing the Rams back 13 yards in two plays before Robinson picked off a desperation third down heave and returned it 30 yards to the AHS five. That set up Fritts for a five-yard touchdown run, handing the Patriots a 50-0 lead.

The teams went to eight-minute quarters in the second half with the Patriots inserting their youngest players.

“We got some younger guys some reps and we see we’ve got some work to do there,” Williams said. “I was pleased with our younger guys defensively. They flew around to the football.”

The Pats’ youth movement added one more score in the fourth quarter on an eight-yard scoring run by Kendal Allen that was set up by a 15-yard scamper by freshman QB Jalen Lewis.

Fritts led the Pats with 113 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. Hollins had 29 yards and one score on three carries. Taylor caught three passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Linden held Akron to -46 yards of total offense.

The Patriots host region foe A.L. Johnson next week.