The North Delta Green Wave continued its winning streak on the road, Friday night, October 8, in Marianna, Ark., where they drowned their opponents, the Lee Academy Cougars, 46-14 on a night of rain at the W. H. "Bill" Gerrard Field.
The rain was not enough to stop the Green Wave support of fans who followed the team about two hours to Arkansas to watch their team come out with another victory and go forward with an 8-0 overall, 3-0 district season.
The Green Wave defense stepped up in the second half of the game and showed exactly what it was made of in this very physical game. They held the Cougars to only 27 yards in the second half of the game and allowed only two first downs in the second half.
Green Wave head coach Rick Johnston was not pleased with the effort of the defense in the first half.
"We kind of took some bad angles on the defense and didn’t tackle real well at all," said Johnston. "We did much better in the second half. We talked about it at halftime and made one minor adjustment, nothing major. It was an alignment problem and we were able to limit what they could do in the second half.
"Still overall, we didn’t have a very good defensive effort Friday night," Johnston continued. "It is just because we didn’t tackle well."
Johnston said one problem was due to players out of position.
"They just didn’t tackle well, once they got there." Johnston said.
"We had some kids come in on Sunday afternoon and we worked with them on some film and then we got back at it on Monday," said Johnston. "We have got to tackle this bunch better coming in here this week, I do know that. They have got some really good skilled people and they run the football hard. We have got to do a much better job than we have the last two weeks on tackling."
Junior running back Dustin Maples stole the show from the Cougars. He broke a record with 246 yards on 20 carries and scored four touchdowns.
Maples put up the first score of the game with an 18 yard run with 50 seconds left in the first quarter and the two point attempt failed for the Green Wave team.
The Cougars bounced back with :09 seconds left and scored on a 36-yard pass to Daniel Parten from Landon Bullard. The two point attempt failed. The game was tied 6-6 at the end of the first quarter.
To start the second quarter of the game, Cody Hallmark scored on a 17-yard run but the extra point was no good.
A few minutes later, Maples scored on a two-yard run and the two point conversion to give the Green Wave a 20-6 lead over the Cougars.
With :45 left in the second quarter, Cougar Jonathan Higgins scored on a four-yard pass from Bullard and the two point conversion by Parten gave the Cougars their last score of the game. The Green Wave led 20-14 at halftime.
The second half of the game was all Green Wave football. Maples scored on a 54 yard run with 10:41 on the clock in the third quarter.
With 6:59 on the clock, Cody Hallmark had a 41 yard run that was called back due to a holding penalty on the Green Wave.
The very next play, Maples scored on a 45 yard run.
With 3:59 left on the clock, quarterback Forrest Wilbanks rushed for 24 yards to help set up the next play. He scored a touchdown on a five-yard run. Jonathan Shedd’s extra point was good to give the Green Wave a 39-14 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The only scoring in the fourth quarter came on a one-yard run by Hunter Coy and Shedds’s extra point was good to give the Green Wave the win 46-14.
"Offensively, I thought that we played pretty well on Friday night," said Johnston. "We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times with penalties, but other than that, I thought we did a good job.
"We have got some talented backs," he added. "Dustin Maples is definitely a talent and he has played really well the last three weeks. He made a couple of super runs Friday night keeping his balance. Dustin is quick side to side. He is not the fastest guy on the team, but he is definitely the quickest. He gets to full speed in a hurry. He can go side to side and stop on a dime, so he is running the football well. He is a great kid. He works hard and plays hard. I am glad that he is on our team."
Going into Friday night, Maples had carried the ball 63 times, as Johnston ran down the list. Wilbanks had over 50 carries. Adam Goodwin also had over 50 carries. Coy has carried the ball 45 times.
"We have been trying to concentrate on having a balanced attack so nobody can just concentrate on stopping just one person," Johnston said. "I think that it has helped. Cody Hallmark is chipping in on the offense side of the ball now. I think going into Friday night, he had 25 or 26 carries and he carried the ball well on Friday night. He and Patrick Ellis are doing a good job in their blocking for us, too.
"Dustin had some good size holes to run through Friday night," Johnston continued. "The offensive line has opened up some holes. Those two backs are blocking for him also. That is what makes it go. Everybody working together. Our guys are playing together and that is the key."
According to Johnston, The players have bought into the team’s concept of playing together and they truly care about each other.
"It is fun to watch. That is what we preach since day one in the seventh grade. We are a team, we are family, and if we get this thing done, it is going to be done together. Everyone has worked hard and hopefully we will get this thing done this weekend," Johnston said.
Johnston knew this was going to be a very physical game for his team.
"They surprised me in some things that they did. You have to hand it to them, you don’t lose just one time, no matter what league you are in, without having a good football team. You have to give them a lot of credit. They played hard and the kids ran the football hard. I thought that they were prepared to play and I thought that they played well," he said.
Johnston was very pleased with the crowd that made the trip to Lee Marianna.
"We had a big following over to Marianna Lee and some of their folks came up to me after the game was over and they really commented on how many people followed to watch us play," said Johnston. "That makes you feel good. The administrator over there is a classy guy and I am just happy to go over there and come out with a win and now we are focused on Indianola."
The Green Wave team had 42 carries for 383 rushing yards and Wilbanks was 2 for 4 passing for 59 yards for a total offense of 442. Harrison Nickle had one receiving pass for 46 yards and Clint Egbert had one for 13 yards.
Wilbanks had 6 carries for 41 yards and 1 touchdown. Hunter Coy had 7 carries for 30 yards and 1 touchdown. Cody Hallmark had 2 carries for 25 yards and 1 touchdown. Adam Goodwin had 6 carries for 33 yards and Patrick Ellis had 1 carry for 8 yards.
The Cougars had 29 carries for 90 yards rushing and they were 9 for 18 for 97 yards passing for a total offense of 187 yards. One hundred sixty of those yards came in the first half of the game.
This is the last non-conference game for the Green Wave before it starts a three week district showdown in 2A action. The next two games will be at home. It will start the showdown with Indianola Academy on Friday night at Green Wave field.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.