• 55°

Linden not looking past Fruitdale

LINDEN — The Patriots utterly routed the Class 5A Central-Tuscaloosa Falcons last week and ascended to the top spot in the ASWA Class 1A poll, seemingly leaving head coach Andro Williams with very little to work on as a Friday rendezvous with Fruitdale approaches. Then again, that would not be Andro Williams. Now 36-5 as a head coach with his teams having allowed only 56 points over their last 14 games, Williams wants to work on everything.

“We’ve still got some things we’ve got to work on fundamentally,” Williams said. “We want to try to eliminate penalties a little more.”

In preparation for an extremely athletic Central team, Williams preached to his players the necessity of playing quickly and aggressively on defense.

“We talked about having 10 or 11 hats around that football when the play is over,” Williams said.

The defense continued to perform at a high level even with key personnel changes in the linebacking corps. Starting strong side line backer Justin Tensley sustained an injury that forced first team middle backer Terris Lewis to the outside. Freshman Chris Rogers — a 6-0, 243-pounder — moved from the defensive line back to the middle linebacker spot to be flanked by Lewis on the strong side and Kendarius Fritts on the weak side.

“He looked real well,” Williams said of Rogers. “He is no stranger to it. We’ve been repping him at middle linebacker and defensive line. he’s just got to step up and do what he’s got to do to help our football team as a freshman.”

Demetrius Craig and Marquis Shelton also saw time at the outside linebacker spots.

While he provided some relief to the outside linebackers, Shelton also provided a breather to Fritts offensively. He ran the ball 10 times for 109 yards and three touchdowns in the contest.

“We definitely want to try to get him in the rotation. He stepped up on both sides of the ball and played physically,” Williams said of Shelton. “Offensively, he gives us another spurt running the ball.”

Shelton and Fritts combined for 227 rushing yards in the game, in part because of the play of a veteran offensive line.

“I thought we got on blocks and stayed on blocks,” Williams said. “I thought we executed some drives and put together some pretty lengthy drives.”

The win over Central means Linden is riding a 23-game regular win streak dating back to an Oct. 2007 loss to Class 6A Fairhope. Linden will look to stretch that number to 24 with a win over region foe Fruitdale Friday.

“With region play starting, we want to go down and get it going from the beginning,” Williams said.