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Linden shuts out Sunshine for Homecoming win

LINDEN — Linden High School’s Homecoming game against Sunshine became the Kendarius Fritts Show early on, as the junior running back ran the Patriots’ first 13 plays from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns as the Patriots blanked the Tigers 49-0 on Friday.

Fritts finished the evening with 157 yards on 17 carries. Sophomore Julian Little had 58 yards on two carries — both touchdowns – and senior Rashad Hollins had three runs for 49 yards and a TD.

LHS freshman quarterback Anthony Robinson was 4-for-7 through the air, hitting Gerald Bruno twice for 28 yards and a touchdown and Larente Taylor twice for 43 yards.

The shutout was the fifth for Linden (7-0 overall, 6-0 1A Region 3) this season, the fifth in the last six games. The Patriot defense has allowed 27 points in seven games this season.

The LHS second-string defense played big to preserve the shutout, as Linden fumbled the ball to Sunshine at the LHS 11-yard line with 2:39 left in regulation. The Tigers pushed to the Linden 5, but on fourth down, the Patriots stopped Sunshine (0-7, 0-6 1A Region 3) on the LHS 3.

Linden had 13 first downs to Sunshine’s five, but had 11 penalties for 95 yards, with one of those erasing a 46-yard touchdown run by Jamal Lewis in the fourth quarter.

Sunshine was paced by Shaun McAlpine, who had 19 carries for 38 yards, and Tevin Griffin, with nine runs for 33 yards.

“We knew what this was,” said Sunshine head coach Jonathan Jenkins. “(Linden) is in the driver’s seat. We’re not on that level; we have to be honest about it. We’re not on the level with Linden or Sweet Water or Maplesville, and I’m not quite sure we’re ready to pay the price to get there.”

“I didn’t like our demeanor coming out of the gate,” said Linden head coach Andro Williams, notching his 30th win in his third season at Linden. “We just didn’t play with a lot of intensity in the first half; we weren’t satisfied at halftime with the intensity that we brought to the table. We had five penalties in the first half, and all of that was things that we gave to Sunshine.

“I’m proud of our guys. They work hard. We’ve got to continue to work and continue to get better. This is a race for the end. We’re in a race right now, and we can’t be satisfied with where we’re at. I’m pleased that they’ve gotten us where we are right now, but we’ve got to work hard to earn that reward at the end.”

Linden visits Class 1A Region 3 rival John Essex (3-4, 2-4 1A Region 3) on Friday, while Sunshine holds court at Homecoming against Akron (0-7, 0-6 1A Region 3).