Patriots cap perfect regular season with win over Aliceville

Published 12:15 am Saturday, October 31, 2009

LINDEN – The Patriots regular season came to an end much like it started, in blowout fashion.

The Patriots (10-0, 7-0 Region) upended the 3A Aliceville Yellow Jackets 40-0 to cap a nearly flawless regular season performance.

The Patriots marched their opening drive down the field in less than two minutes before junior tailback Kendarius Fritts hit the end zone for a 14-yard score.

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Aliceville’s next drive ended abruptly thanks to an interception by Gerald Bruno. Fritts would help the Patriots capitalize on the opportunity with a 5-yard touchdown run with four minutes left in the first.

Linden, known this year for it’s standout offense, was supported Friday by a defense that only allowed the Yellow Jackets to cross midfield once in the game.

The Patriots hit the scoreboard again only 45 seconds into the second quarter, this time on a 2-yard, goal line plunge by Keiunta Goodwill.

With Aliceville driving, and in Patriot territory for the first time in the game, Najee Bright picked off a pass as time expired, giving Linden the 21-0 edge at the half.

“We stalled on two (drives) because of penalties,” Linden head coach Andro Williams said of the Pats’ only first half struggles. “For the most part, we had drives and we finished our drives. They had some spurts. They caused us to punt the ball with our first unit and that’s what we needed.”

Fritts amassed 108 yards and two scores on 11 carries in the first two quarters – 70 yards more than the entire Aliceville offense.

The third quarter was much of the same for the Yellow Jackets: a steady dose of Fritts and a relentless defense.

Fritts bruised his way for a 17 yard score with six minutes left in the third to put the Patriots up 27-0.

Two minutes later, Patriot lineman Kevon Rembert forced his second fumble of the night, which was promptly scooped up by defensive end Justin Delaine who rumbled 40 yards for a score.

Linden’s passing game got involved with one minute left in the third when Anthony Robinson hit Larente Taylor on a 7-yard strike to seal the 40-0 win.

Fritts led the Patriots with 179 yards on 14 carries and three scores.

“He got stronger as the game went on,” Williams said of the reliable Fritts. “It’s really paid dividends for us this year to have him come in and carry the football.”

Taylor led the receiving corps with two catches for 37 yards and a score.

The Linden defense only allowed 129 yards total offense, much of which came late in the game with Patriot reserves leading the charge.

The win marked the completion of the Patriots’ second consecutive perfect regular season, bringing Williams’ career record as a head coach to 33-4.

“Our kids have worked hard and they gave that kind of effort all year,” Williams said. “For them to come out and give up 27 points all year is huge.”

During the 10-game campaign, the Patriots outscored opponents 469-27, pitching eight shutouts along the way. The Patriots committed two turnovers against Maplesville on Oct. 3 — the only two donations made by Linden’s first team offense all season.

“The fact that we kept from putting the ball on the ground is the biggest key to us being successful on defense,” Williams said.

Linden will host its round one playoff game against Class 1A, Region 4 No. 4 seed Wadley next Friday night.