Linden overcomes tough week to win big
Playing with heavy hearts following the loss of former teammate Anthony Robinson Jr., the Linden Patriots took on the J.U. Blacksher Bulldogs on Friday night at Linden Athletic Field.
Before the game, a moment of silence was observed in the stadium, and school officials announced that after this season is over, they will make a request to the Linden City Board of Education for a resolution to retire Robinson’s No. 10 jersey.
The Patriots were able to focus during the game, and came away with a 60-8 blowout win over the Bulldogs.
“It was a tough week for us, and it was tough to focus at times,” head coach Andro Williams said. “We have to continue being strong and continue to overcome adversity.”
When the game kicked off, the Patriots didn’t waste any time getting things going. The forced a fumble on the opening kickoff, giving Linden the ball on the Bulldogs 22 yard line. Two plays later, the ball was in the endzone from a 19-yard touchdown run by Prentiss McCuiston. The point after attempt by Dewayne Charleston Jr. was good, making the score 7-0 with 10:34 on the clock in the open quarter.
Linden got the ball back in good field position for their next drive, and was able to punch it in again, this time on a 25-yard run by McCuiston to put the Patriots on top 14-0 halfway through the first quarter.
On Blacksher’s next drive, they threw an interception to Devontae Knox, who returned it for a touchdown, giving Linden a 21-0 lead.
The Patriots forced a punt on the next Blacksher drive, and the Patriots once again drove the ball down and scored, this time on a 16-yard scamper from Demarcus Gilmore.
On the ensuing kickoff, Travouris Hill of Blacksher returned the kick 89 yards to the Linden three yard line before he was forced out of bounds by Tywan Smith. Blacksher could not capitalize on the field position, as they lost a fumble on the two yard line.
On the next play as time expired in the opening quarter, Linden had a 97-yard TD run called back on a holding penalty, allowing one final untimed play in the quarter. During the untimed play, quarterback Charleston tripped in the endzone, resulting in a safety and two points for the Bulldogs, so Linden led 28-2 after one.
The Patriots added four more scores before halftime. The first came on a 53-yard pass from Charleston to Nicholas Rogers. Gilmore and McCuiston both added touchdown runs as well. Defensive lineman Eric Monroe Jr. also scored on a 21-yard fumble recovery before the half, giving Linden a 54-2 lead before the break.
In the second half, Williams played his second team, giving the younger players some early season reps.
They backups gave up one score to the Bulldogs in the third quarter and added one of their own on a 34-yard run by Knox, making the final score 60-8.
“We just have to keep trying to push them in the right direction,” Williams said. “We have to keep on keeping on. That’s what Anthony would want us to do. We want to do it the right way.”
Williams added that he saw improvement all around, but there is still work to be done.
“I saw some great things from our first team that I didn’t see last week, and our special teams improved a lot,” he said. “Our young guys got some good reps. It was a good learning experience.”