The North Delta Green Wave remain undefeated after downing the Indianola Colonels 28-7 on Friday before a standing room only crowd.
The 7-1 Colonels came into the game with high anticipation of giving the Green Wave its first loss of the season. The Green Wave team thought differently and had high anticipation of remaining undefeated. They came out of the game with a 9-0 overall, 4-0 district record and a big district win.
The Green Wave remains the only undefeated team in the district. The Colonels lost their first district game of the season.
Neither team scored in the first quarter of the game.
In the second quarter with 8:40 on the clock, the Colonels had a third down and two with the ball on the Green Waves 17 yard line. Brandon Ciaramitaro and Scott Ross stepped up and stopped the Colonels advancement. The Colonels had to punt the ball. With 6:51 on the clock, the Colonels quarterback was sacked by Ciaramitaro and Hal West for a loss.
The first score came on a Green Wave Adam Goodwin 21 yard touchdown with 2:17 left in the second quarter.
Jonathan Sheddss point-after-touchdown (PAT) was good to give the Green Wave a 7-0 lead.
Ciaramitaro sacked the quarterback again with 1:03 on the clock. The Colonels scored with 28 seconds left on the clock when John Randle Wells caught a seven-yard pass from quarterback Will Barrett. The PAT by Barrett was good to tie the ballgame 7-7.
The Green Wave retaliated with 14 seconds left on the clock when Harrison Nickle scored on a 95-yard kickoff return and the PAT by Shedd was good to give the Green Wave a 14-7 lead at halftime.
The Green Wave took the opening kickoff on the third quarter. Harrison Nickle returned the ball down to his own 39 yard line. Adam Goodwin, Dustin Maples and Forrest Wilbanks drove the ball down the field but were stopped on the Colonels 40 yard line on fourth down and five.
Some defensive efforts include Patrick Ellis tackle for loss yards and Cody Hallmarks quarterback sack forcing the Colonels to punt.
The Green Wave defense stepped up big. Harrison Nickle tipped the pass and Patrick Ellis intercepted it. The Green Wave took over on the Colonels 40 yard line with 4:21 on the clock.
The next few plays by Wilbanks, Goodwin and Maples brought the ball down to the Colonels 17 yard line. The Green Wave got a holding penalty and they were faced with a first down and 22 with the ball on the Colonels 29.
Wilbanks scored on a nine-yard run with only 58 seconds left in the third quarter of the game. The PAT failed and the Green Wave had a 20-7 lead at the end of the third quarter.
With 6:45 left in the game, the Colonels had a fourth and 12 with the ball on the 42 yard line of the Green Wave.
The Colonels went for the first down, but a quarterback sack by Ciaramitaro forced a turnover on downs.
With 4:47 left in the game, Wilbanks scored on a five yard run and the two pint conversion by Maples was good to give the Green Wave the 28-7 victory.
The Green Wave defense had a big night against the Colonels with five quarterback sacks.
Some of the other defense players who contributed in this much heated ballgame were Jacob Gurley, Clint Egbert, Patrick Ellis, Harrison Nickle, Dakota Mabry, Adam Goodwin, Hunter Coy, Brandon Smith and Scott Ross.
The Green Wave finished the game with 330 yards on 50 rushes. Wilbanks completed one of five passing attempts for seven yards to give them a total offense of 337 yards with four touchdowns.
The leading rusher for the Green Wave was Maples with 20 carries for 130 yards with one two-point conversion. Wilbanks had 15 carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Goodwin had 10 carries for 67 yards with one touchdown. Nickle had 1 carry for 17 yards and two returns for 120 yards. Hallmark had one carry for 11 yards and Ellis had two carries for six yards.
On the other side of the field, the Colonels had 24 rushes for 76 yards and they were 15 for 26 yards in passing for a total offense of 236 yards with only one touchdown. They had nine first downs and four penalties for 35 yards.
Head coach Rick Johnston told the team after the game he was very proud of them.
"I told you at halftime that we were a second half team," Johnston said. "We found them in the first half and it paid off in the second half. You did a great job. The defense stepped up. You didn’t break, you stepped up. I will tell you this, I will hold up to my end of the bargain!"
After Johnston told the players this on the field, they went wild. They started celebrating with screams, jumping up and down and saying, "WE DID IT BABY!"
Johnston said that he was very excited over this win.
"I am very excited," said Johnston. "I thought that our kids played hard. Our defense kind of bent, but they didn’t break. We made some big plays on both sides of the ball. Most of the times, we have been a second half team, and tonight was a second half effort again. We played solid in the first half.
"We had a couple coverage assignments that weren’t very solid, but that sometimes happens," he added. "We made some adjustments at halftime and got that taken care of pretty much. We were able to get our hands on some balls and get an interception or so and had a chance at a couple more."
Johnston spoke about the play of Harrison Nickle right before the half.
"Harrison made a big play for us. It kind of gave us the momentum back.They had just scored and evened the game at seven and that gave us some momentum going into halftime. The kids were excited. It was just a big win. I didn’t look very often, but I know that it was very loud out there tonight, so we must have had a bunch of people here. Our fans are some of the best in the world. These kids fed off of that and they are to be commended," Johnston said.
When asked about the five quarterback sacks, Johnston had to make some adjustments after watching Indianola play.
"At the beginning, we were going to try and cover and not get a lot of pressure where we wouldn’t give up the big plays, but we found out pretty quick that we couldn’t let the quarterback sit back there and throw the football. He did a great job when he wasn’t pressured, so we had to come with some pressure and make some big plays."
Johnston commented about his deal that he made with his team concerning him shaving his head.
"Its going to happen. I just told the players when its going to happen and they are okay with it. They are excited about it. That is something that has been discussed about 10 years around here and has never happened or never even crossed my mind. This is a special group that we have. We have had some special groups in the past. The kids are great and they have worked hard."
Looking ahead but not trying to Johnston said they just have to play the season out.
"We will just see what happens next week. This definitely helped our chances. It was a huge win for us and I am very proud of my team, I promise you that."
Assistant coach Lance Thomas said it was a very exciting win.
"It is something that we have been working for since January," said Thomas. "These kids have been in the weight room for a long time. We have been working hard. We have got some seniors who have been working for about two and a half years for this and I feel really good about it. These kids put in a lot of effort and they are a very special group. I think that in the next couple of weeks, we are going to keep on rolling. We are just going to keep the train rolling. This is a very big step tonight. We have got to take care of business here on out. We have two more district ballgames ahead."
When asked about shaving his head, Thomas replied. "If I had shaved my head, it wouldn’t have been a bit of excitement, it would have just been another day because I shave my head all the time."
The Green Wave will host Bayou Academy Friday night. Seniors will be recognized. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.