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Linden to be tested against tough Brantley defense


Before last week’s 46-0 win over St. Jude in the AHSAA Class 2A playoffs, Linden football coach Andro Williams emphasized the importance of stopping numerous explosive playmakers St. Jude brought to the table.

"Well, I thought we played sound and fundamental on the defensive side of the football," Williams said. "I thought we won the battle up front."

The tables have completely turned for the Patriots now, as they go toe-to-toe with the Brantley Bulldogs, who possess one of the best defenses in the state, statistically.

"I can tell you one thing: a defense that has eight shutouts and only gives up 2.75 points per game doesn’t have much of a weakness," Williams said.

Although the defense may be more rigid, the basic 5-2 formation the Bulldogs bring to the game may be easier to digest than the unusual look the Patriots saw last week.

"Last week, we didn’t know how they (St. Jude) were going to line up or where they were going to be," Williams said. "They’re (Brantley) mean and they’re physical. They’re fast, athletic and strong. You can tell they’ve been in that weight room."

Williams knows his team has the ability to puncture a solid defensive squad.

"We’re able to move the ball on anybody," he said. "We just have to play sound football. We have to block and execute what we’re trying to do on the offensive side of the ball.

Williams said it is imperative the Patriots find a way to run the ball effectively and extend drives, but also stressed the team not stray away from its identity.

Linden’s defense has a difficult task ahead of it, as well. Brantley has scored less than 40 points only once, in the season opener when the Bulldogs scored 36, plus having scored 60 points or more on ur occassions.

"They change things up every year," Williams said. "They’ve done a great job of coaching and changing with their kids.

"This year, it seems like they’ve put everything together. They can outsmart you with their formations. They can be physical offense or they can be a spread offense. They can outflank you or they can bring the tight ends on the field and run every play."

Brantley has their fair share of offensive weapons, as well.

"They’ve got a running back, Andrew Parker, who is the real deal," Williams said.

Parker carried the ball five times for 129 yards and two touchdowns in a 60-0 win over Geneva County. Parker also had 15 carries for 157 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 48-0 win over Billingsley.

Brantley will also attack the Patriots with quarterback Andrew Lowry, the son of Brantley’s head coach, David.

"He can do more than just manage the game," Williams said. "He can hurt you with his arms and his legs."