BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
The Brantley Bulldogs had their state title hopes drenched this past Friday night by the Linden Patriots 22-7 in the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Class 1A Football Semi-Finals.
Perhaps the rain which fell through the entire game played a part in the Bulldogs loss, but it was turnovers by Brantley which cost them their chance to play for the AHSAA State Championship.
Brantley had early opportunities to put points on the board in the first quarter when their defense recovered a Patriot fumble on Linden’s first drive but couldn’t convert.
On Linden’s second possession, the Bulldogs intercepted a pass but were intercepted themselves on the Patriots’ 2-yard line and it was returned for 98 yards and a touchdown. Seconds later, Linden was successful in a 2-point conversion with 4:07 remaining in the first quarter.
The Patriots scored their second touchdown early in the second quarter when their defense picked up a Bulldog fumble and raced to the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion try failed.
Brantley fought back and scored with two minutes to go in the first half and successfully kicked for the extra point. At the end of the half the score was 14-7 in the Patriots’ favor.
In the third quarter the Patriots scored their final points on a 70-yard quarterback draw and converted the 2-point try making the score 22-7.
Brantley kept fighting but Linden came up with huge stops on two fourth down conversion attempts by the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs finished their season at 13-2. Their only losses were to Andalusia and Linden.
Linden will play for the 2020 AHSAA Class 1A State Championship Thursday at 2:45 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa against Pickens County. Linden won a prior matchup with Pickens earlier in the season 36-0.