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Coaches, players showed class and restraint

Late in the fourth quarter of Linden-Maplesville game this past Friday night, two men on the visitor’s sideline were arrested, with one taken to the Linden City Jail and the other to Marengo County Jail.

Following a fairly serious hit on the Maplesville quarterback only moments before, the Maplesville coaching staff had some fairly pointed and choice words for Linden coach Andro Williams and his staff.

Once the injured player was escorted off the field, Maplesville was flagged for three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in a matter of one snap of the ball.

Make no mistake: regardless of who wants to admit it or not, this was a huge game for both teams.

Maplesville wanted to avenge a 35-0 home loss last year. Linden needed to beat the Red Devils to all but lock in a regional title.

Playoff seeding was likely decided in this game and Class 1A rankings were on the line.

Pile up all those implications, throw in a physical game and a key injury, and you’ve got a powder keg waiting to explode.

That explosion happened with the successive penalties awarded to Maplesville and jawing and fingerpointing that ensued.

What we’re proud of, what we want to address here, is our appreciation to coach Andro Williams, his staff and his players for representing the county so well.

Not only did Linden win the game, but they avoided potential disaster by engaging Maplesville in this behavior.

Rather than stand in the street and trade punches, Linden capitalized on the penalties to turn what had been only a six-point lead into a game-sealing field goal.

Football is a brutal sport played with high emotion and pride.

When emotions overrun pride, it’s often easy to lose composure.

We appreciate Coach Williams and his staff for teaching their players to be both competitive and good sports.

The game Friday night was a very good football game that ended badly for the opposing team, and it was their own fault.