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Linden shuts out Maplesville

With some early success in the rearview mirror, the reality of a rebuilding year finally hit Maplesville on Friday night.

Linden running back Maurice Tate did most of the hitting. The No. 5 Patriots rode Tate to a 34-0 win with a 151-yard performance on 27 carries. He got 101 of those in the first half and also scored three touchdowns in the game.

The loss marked the first time No. 4 Maplesville (4-1) has been shut out since losing 48-0 to Billingsley in the final game of the 2003 season. It also broke a 25-game regular season winning streak.

“We graduated nine people last year,” Maplesville coach Brent Hubbert said. “We had to be tested. We got tested, and we failed the test. It started with me as a head coach, and we’ve got to correct those things that we did wrong.”

Linden (6-0) took it to the Red Devils right from the opening possession, marching down the field and scoring on a Tate touchdown from the 1-yard line.

The Patriots had 21 first downs, eating up clock and controlling the pace of the game every step of the way.

Maplesville was driving down the field late in the second quarter, but a fumble gave the ball back to Linden on its own 36.

A failed fourth down conversion inside the red zone was all that stopped Linden from going into halftime ahead by two touchdowns.

“We felt good being down 7-0,” Hubbert said. “We didn’t get anything going in the first drive in the second half, and that hurt a little bit.”

Linden grinded out a more than four-minute possession in its opening drive of the third quarter, capped by a 13-yard touchdown run by Tate.

On the Patriots’ next possession, Tate made it a three-touchdown lead on a 2-yard run with 11:21 left in the game.

The very next offensive play may very well have been the one that sealed the game. Maplesville quarterback Matt Hamner threw a pass that Larenta Taylor picked off and returned 51 yards for a touchdown and a 28-0 Linden advantage.

Santrell Braxton, who had 125 yards on 15 carries, ran in the ball game’s final score from 12 yards away with less than eight minutes on the clock.

Hunter McCay led Maplesville with 56 yards on 10 carries.