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Pats face final region test at Autaugaville

LINDEN — The Patriots clinched the Class 1A, Region 3 championship against John Essex last week. That almost makes Thursday’s showdown with Autaugaville a moot point. But third year head coach Andro Williams is unconcerned with the possibility of a Patriot letdown.

“We’ve just got to continue to work on us,” Williams said. “We know we’re not nearly where we want to be on a continuous basis. We’ve got a goal in front of us; that’s to win every game.”

Williams, who is 31-4 since taking over the Linden program in 2007, also realizes that Autaugaville poses a considerable threat to the Pats perfect aspirations.

“This team is definitely a good football team. I’ve seen them play as well as anybody in the region at times,” Williams said of a team that defeated Billingsley earlier this season. “They’re big across the front and have good skill players. And we know we’re going into a hostile environment.”

Williams also said his team has been focused on playing with maximum effort for four quarters.

“We’ve showed spurts,” Williams said. “But we haven’t really consistently done it for four quarters. We haven’t been in a whole lot of games that have been games in the fourth quarter, so we don’t know if we’ve put it all together.”

In addition to learning to maintain their intensity, the Patriots have also sought to develop depth over recent weeks. Doing that successfully could be a major difference for the team as it heads into postseason play.

“We’re just trying to work on our depth, trying to get kids more playing time,” Williams said. “I’ve seen our second defense get better as the year has gone on.”

The Patriots travel to Autaugaville Thursday and are scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.