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Linden anticipates improved Winterboro

Last time they hosted Winterboro, the Linden Patriots greatest opposition came in determining which uniform combination to wear. Blue tops and white pants? Maybe red tops with blue pants? There’s always the crowd favorite of red tops and white pants?

That night, the Pats went with the blue jerseys on blue pants and Winterboro watched as monochromatic streaks tore into the end zone with relentless fervor. That was the first round of the 2008 Class 1A state playoffs. That game ended 66-0.

But Andro Williams takes very little comfort in that game. Why? Different year. Different teams. That Winterboro squad entered at 5-5, the No. 4 seed out of Region 4. This squad will roll into Linden at 8-3, the No. 2 seed out of Region 4.

“They’ve got eight returning starters on offense and nine returning starters on defense,” Williams said of a much more seasoned Winterboro squad. “Their quarterback is a sophomore, but he doesn’t play like a sophomore. They’ve got a real good thing going right now. They play emotional.”

That emotional Winterboro team comes in fresh off a 36-12 win over A.L. Johnson in round one. The Patriots enter round two on the heels of a 40-10 win over Wadley, a game in which Williams saw a handful of things the Pats will need to correct.

“In the first half, we didn’t tackle as well. We want to make sure we tackle better,” Williams said. “We didn’t pick up the blitz as well on the offensive line.”

Williams’ squad opened its week talking about those deficiencies. The rain forced the Patriots indoors for their first two days of practice.

“It was a good mental day,” Williams said. “We went in the gym. We talked about what we’re fixing to see. We know we we’re a different team than we were at this point last year. We know definitely they are a different team than they were.”

While Linden figures to be favored in front of its own home crowd, Williams relents that his defense is playing with fire the Winterboro offense.

“They’re going to try to outflank you,” Williams said. “They run the double wing. They give you different looks out of it. They put you in a position where you have to cover the whole field. You have to play assignment football and still be physical when the situation calls for it.”