Red Devils excited about opportunity at Linden

Published 3:40 pm Thursday, November 17, 2011

If the Maplesville football team is nervous about this week’s game against Linden, you wouldn’t know by watching the Red Devils practice this week.

Sure, Linden is ranked No. 1, but Maplesville is ranked No. 2. Linden has beaten Maplesville each of the previous three years, but Maplesville won the three meeting prior to that.

Linden is the home team, but the game will be played at Marengo County High School, about 20 miles away. Linden (11-1) expects to finally get over the hump this season and win a state championship, but Maplesville (12-0) gets to have fun Friday and play without the pressure of being a favorite.

“Our kids are just excited to have a chance to be playing again,” MHS coach Brent Hubbert said about the third-round matchup.

Hubbert has said this season that he likes the attitude of this year’s squad. They might be undersized—especially compared to Linden—but the Red Devils are never intimidated.

“Win or lose, I feel like they’re going to show up to play,” Hubbert said.

They showed up to practice Wednesday with the same playful attitude they’ve had all year. But Hubbert said the Devils know when it’s time to be serious.

The coach’s message this week has been the same it was before the first game of the playoffs:

“Play like we’ve played all year and have no regrets,” he said.

Maplesville and Linden are familiar foes, but the last time the Red Devils have played at the site of Friday’s game was in 1996, when MHS defeated Marengo County, 40-0, in the state semifinals. The Devils won the state championship the next week.

Linden uses a five-man front on defense with three linebackers, smothering the run and letting an athletic secondary use its speed to make plays.

“They’re pretty impressive,” Hubbert said. “They’re big, they’re fast and they’re mean.”

On offense, the Patriots employ a hybrid wing-T attack and take advantage of the skills of quarterback Anthony Robinson Jr., who Hubbert said could be the best player Maplesville has faced all season.

But look for the key to be who can control the line of scrimmage.

“You get to this point in the playoffs, and it’s going to be decided up front,” Hubbert said.

Who will win?

If Las Vegas were to release a point spread on this game, Maplesville would surely be a double-digit underdog. Linden is that good. Don’t let their loss fool you: it came against a Class 5A team, Gulf Shores. But these Red Devils aren’t going to be intimidated, and it should help that the game isn’t being played at Linden’s city stadium. Look for the Devils to put together a performance that will make their school and community proud…but it won’t be enough.

Pick: Linden | Picks record: 57-17

Who will win the Maplesville-Linden game?

  • Maplesville (76%, 44 Votes)
  • Linden (24%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 58

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