All week, Linden High School foottball coach Deon Candia stressed how important it was for his team to come into Saturday’s game against Plainfield with the right mentality.
Coming in better prepared mentally was the reason the Tigers made less mistakes and defeated the visiting Cardinals, 34-0.
“We are just going to take one game at a time,” Candia said. “In the first game we looked a little too far ahead. Next, we got a good Ridge team coming in, we are going to prepare hard for them, and we are going to try to get the win.”
Quarterback, Dazzmen Johnson played lights out for the Tigers, completing 8 out of 11 passes for 98 yards and one touchdown pass. He also carried the ball 5 times for 30 yards and another score. Johnson scored both touchdowns in the first quarter, which put Linden up early and set the tone for the rest of the game.
“This week was really big for us,” Johnson said. “We had to keep our minds together, and we had to stay focused to get this win.”
As the quarterback and team leader, Johnson couldn’t stress it enough how important this game was for himself and most importantly his teammates.
“Each week we just got to get better and win,” Johnson said. “Our defense played very good. Sha-Quan Champagne and Derrick Hendricks did a very good job. All we need our defense to do is get shutouts, and our offense will do the rest.”
After a 13-0 lead at halftime, Linden added on 21 more points in the 3rd quarter, including a blocked punt recovery by Khalil Burns, a 26-yard touchdown run by Juwan Dolbrice and a 55-yard punt return by Dolbrice, which was set up nicely by the Tigers’ special teams unit. The three touchdowns in the 6-minute span put the Tigers up for good, giving the Cardinals no breathing room whatsoever.
The Cardinals on the other hand, didn’t get much going offensively, which put their defense in tough situations throughout the game. Plainfield Head Coach, Clinton Jones declined for comment after the game.
Linden Middle Linebacker, Sha-Quan Champagne anchored a stingy, and brutally tough defense that held the Cardinals’ offense under 100 yards total for the game. The Home News Tribune preseason all-area first teamer was focused on hitting the ground fast, after a slow start last season due to a meniscus injury.
“I know everybody needs to follow off of me because I’m the leader of the defense,” Champagne said. “Like coach said we can enjoy this for 24 hours, then Monday we’ll be back at it moving onto the next team.”
L – Johnson 2 yard run (extra point good)
L – Johnson 20 yard pass to West (extra point failed)
L – Burns recovered blocked punt for TD (extra point good)
L – Dolbrice 26 yard run (extra point good)
L -Dolbrice 55 yard punt return (extra point good)
RUSHING: L – Johnson 5-30, Dolbrice 3-31, Phipps 4-17, Guillaume 1-16. P – Jones 15-76, Roldan 2-6
PASSING: L- Johnson 8-11-0-98, P- Roldan 5-11-0-20
RECEIVING: L – Ampey 1-40, Guillaume 2-5, West 2-30, Waldron 1-5, Phipps 1-4, Dolbrice 1-14. P – Jones 1-15, Kearney 1-5