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Patriots prepare for Maplesville team

LINDEN — Andro Williams knows very well that his Patriots won by 32 points the last time they saw Maplesville. He also knows that game has absolutely no bearing on how Friday night’s contest will play out.

“I think they are a little bit more balanced this year with what they want to do and what they’re trying to do,” Williams said of the differences between the 2011 Maplesville Red Devils and their 2010 predecessors. “They are just a little bit more balanced. They throw it when they want to throw it. They run it when they want to run it.”

Maplesville is notorious for its proficient passing attack but promises to offer the Patriots a handful of looks with which to deal Friday night.

“They are what you call a real multiple offense,” Williams said. “They can get in two (tight ends) and they can run the football right at you or they can get in the spread that they have run forever. We’ve got to stop the run and make sure we stop the big play.”

While Maplesville figures to offer a versatile offensive attack, Williams is confident in the personnel his team has on the defensive side of the ball.

“You have to be a different kind of people in order to deal with them,” Williams said. “I like our defense. We’ve got a different kind of people.”

That different kind of people that will be wearing patriotic colors Friday night will also have to find a way to contend with a Maplesville defensive front that could test Linden’s limits.

“Defensively, you’re not real sure where they are going to be at,” Williams said. “They changed the defense this year to a 3-4. Predominantly, they are a 3-4.”

While Maplesville has offered a base 3-4 look for most of the season, head coach Brent Hubbert and the Red Devils have also displayed a penchant for lining into other sets and challenging opposing offenses.

“We’re going to have to move the football on them,” Williams offered.

The Patriots head into the game after a pair of blowout victories in the first two rounds. While the Patriots have not been challenged much since their Oct. 28 win over Brantley, Williams believes his team has approached each game with the same intensity it will need to continue through the four-game odyssey that leads to the Class 1A state championship at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

“There is no difference,” Wiliams said. “These kids know that the intensity is picking up this time of year and that everybody left in the playoffs are contenders. We’re just going to show up to play like we have any other week.”

The Patriots will host Maplesville at Marengo High School in Dixon’s Mills Friday night at 7 p.m. The winner of that contest will move on to face the winner of Sweet Water and Pickens County.