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Patriots prep for Falcons

The Patriots have opened the last two seasons against Class 3A Cottage Hill, a recent AISA convert. Friday night’s season-opening opponent is a completely different animal as Linden will try to counter Class 5A Central-Tuscaloosa.

“Preparing for those athletes they’ve got,” Linden head coach Andro Williams said of his team’s practice objectives this week. “They are loaded with athletes for sure.”

Linden faced the Falcons in a Jamboree contest last season, pulling out a victory in that game. With that experience in mind, Williams knows what his team will need to do in order to avoid just its third regular season loss in his three-year tenure.

“As a team, we’ve got to be faster than them,” Williams said. “Individually, we are not going to be faster than them. We’ve just got to play team ball defensively and offensively and see what happens.”

The Patriots go into the contest after having tussled with and triumphed over Hillcrest-Evergreen and Escambia County in last Friday’s Jamboree.

“I thought we were sort of ahead of where we were this time last year on the offensive side of the ball,” Williams said. “We didn’t play as well on the defensive side of the ball. We’ve got to do a little better job of having a sense of urgency.”

While Williams’ offense is ahead of its 2009 pace, it did see its share of struggles.

Williams indicated his staff will be massaging those kinks out this week.

“We’ve got some work we can do offensively,” Williams said.

The Patriots will travel to Tuscaloosa Friday night in the first of six regular season road games the squad plays this season.

“We need to walk into that game this first week and play well,” Williams said. “We’ve got to go in and be able to finish the deal.”