Door slammed in ND face by Pillow
By Brad Greer
North Delta head coach Brandon Ciaramitaro would have liked to contribute his team’s 49-27 season opening loss to Pillow Friday night on first game jitters, but that would have not been the case.
“We had a lot more mistakes than we should have for a first game. We had four turnovers and three of those came in the second half. It does not matter who you are playing, it is hard to win games when you do that,” said Ciaramitaro.
North Delta trailed 28-27 heading into the fourth quarter but three costly fumbles led to three Pillow touchdowns as the visiting Mustangs pulled away in the fourth quarter.
Following a Will McMinn fumble recovery on the North Delta 25, Michael Davis scored his third touchdown of the night with a seven-yard run at the 9:06 mark to give Pillow a 35-27 lead. Davis ended the night with 105 yards on 19 carries.
On the insuing possession, Hunter Jones scooped up a fumble and raced 33 yards before fumbling at the goal line only to have William Dent Brock pounce on the ball in the end zone. Steve Pannell tacked on the point after attempt to give the Mustangs a 42-27 advantage.
Pillow tacked on the final score with 45 seconds left in the game as Cooper Dunn connected with Maury Sykes on a 34-yard scoring pass.
“The kids gave a great effort, but we just did not execute and had far to many penalties. We have a lot of work to do and it will get fixed by next week,” said Ciaramitaro.
The Mustangs took a 21-7 lead into the loockerroom before North Delta came roaring back with three scores in the third quarter.
Chase Coker’s 15-yard run at the 8:22 mark capped off a nine-play, 65 yard drive to close the margin to 21-14 after Jonathan Wilkes added the PAT.
After forcing Pillow to punt on the next series, the Green Wave offense went to work, pounding the ball inside the Mustang ten yard line. With 1st-and- goal in the four, Austin Redwine crashed through the line but fumbled before crossing the goal line. Teammate Sam Copeland alertly fell on the pigskin in the endzone for the touchdown to knott the game at 21-21 after Wilkes successful PAT with 4:59 left in the third period.
Pillow regained the lead at 28-21 on the following series as Davis scored from three yards out. The drive was kept alive as Pannell hauled in a 34-yard pass reception from Cooper Dunn on 4th-and-13 from the North Delta 36.
The Green Wave quickly answered back on their next drive as quarterback Skylar Lawson hit a wide-open Copeland for a 61-yard scoring pass. Wilkes missed the point after to leave the score 28-27 with 1:12 remaining in the third quarter.
Pillow (1-0) wasted little time getting on the board as Sykes returned the opening kickoff 62 yards to the North Delta two-yard line before scoring on the next play.
North Delta knotted the game up a 7-7 on Coker’s three-yard run with 2:23 remaining in the first quarter. Coker led all rushers with 181 yards on 19 carries.The Mustangs added a pair of touchdowns in the second period on a 17-yard pass from Dunn to Tyler McKay followed by Davis’s 30- yard scamper.
Pillow out-gained North Delta 391-369 in total yardage despite the Wave rushing for 264 yards on the night.
Penalties played a key role in the game as Pillow was flagged 14 times for 132 yards while North Delta had 15 penalties for 103 yards.
Bailey Sullivant followed Cokeer in the rushing column with eight carries for 49 yards while Redwine added seven carries for 32 yards. Hays Hudson added 11 yards on seven totes and Hunter Baker rushed the ball one time for two yards.
Lawson completed 6-of-16 passing for 105 yards and one touchdown. Copeland led the receiving corps with two catches for 82 yards. Coker also added two receptions for 10 yards. Baker and Tyler Beard contributed with one catch for eight and four yards.
Hunter Pitcher led the North Delta defense with six tackles followed by Hudson with five. Bradley Booth, Tyler Hardin and Beard added four stops.
Parker Jones and Wilson Morrow registered three tackles while Sullivant garnered two tackles and a interception.
North Delta will hit the road Friday as it will take a short trek north to Senatobia to take on Magnolia Heights at 7 p.m.