Linden rumbles past Keith in opening round of playoffs

Published 10:10 pm Friday, November 8, 2013

The Linden Patriots opened the Class 1A playoffs with a dominant 53-0 win over the Keith Bears on Friday at Linden Athletic Field.

The Patriots defense stifled Keith throughout the game, not allowing the Bears to cross the 50 yard line until they returned a kickoff to the Linden 13 yard line with 43 seconds to play in the game.

The Bears made a couple of plays through the air early in the game, but their ground game was nonexistent from the opening kickoff.

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“I knew they were a good football team, but I didn’t know they were 53 points better than us,” Keith head coach Harry Crum said. “They’re tough and physical, and we’re just not there yet.”

Linden head coach Andro Williams said his players have to continue getting better and making smart decisions.

“You can’t just play this game from the neck down,” Williams said. “You have to be smart, and we have to work on being proactive and making adjustments at the line instead of being reactive.”

As good as the Patriots defense played in the game, the offense played just as well. Terrance Sanders got the scoring started with a 10-yard touchdown run to put Linden up 6-0 after the missed extra point. Linden’s defense forced a punt, and Dequan Charleston collected the ball and returned it 65 yards for a score to extend the early lead to 12-0.

Early in the second quarter, Prentiss McCuiston got on the board with a touchdown run from a yard out, giving the Patriots a 19-0 advantage. McCuiston added his second touchdown of the night midway through the second quarter, this time from four yards out. Again, the point after attempt was no good, and the Patriots led 25-0.

Linden crossed the goal line one more time before halftime on an 18-yard run by Sanders giving the Patriots a 32-0 halftime advantage.

On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Sanders took a handoff 65 yards for a score, extending Linden’s lead to 38-0.

Keith started their next drive at their own 9 yard line, and the Linden defense forced a three-and-out. On the punt attempt, a bad snap forced a safety, and Linden added two more points.

On the ensuing drive, backup quarterback Christopher Robinson connected with Patriots tight end Kynard Craig for a 20-yard touchdown pass, making the score 47-0.

Keith had a chance to score on their next drive, as quarterback Maurice Crumpton scrambled for 52 yards and a touchdown, but the play was called back for an illegal block. The Bears went backwards on their next three plays, and Linden got the ball back unscathed.

The fourth quarter was cut down to six minutes, and Linden added one more score with 1:27 to play in the game on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Robinson to put Linden on top 53-0.

“At this point, it’s all about advancing,” Williams said. “You’ve got to come to play every week. We just have to keep on working to get better.”