The North Delta Green Wave claimed the Academy 2A District 1 champions for the second straight year after defeating Bayou Academy 54-14 Friday night and was able to continue its undefeated season with a 10-0 overall record.
The Green Wave clinched a playoff spot and home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs which will be on Nov. 5.
Lee Academy clinched a second place playoff spot by shutting out Indianola 40-0 Friday night.
Showcasing their talent and their determination, the Green Wave put the first points on the scoreboard.
Leading rusher and scorer Dustin Maples scored on a four-yard run. The point after touchdown (PAT) by Jonathan Shedd was good with 8:26 on the clock to give the Green Wave a 7-0 lead.
Clint Egbert broke for a 63-yard run but was stopped short of the endzone.
Maples scored on a one-yard run and the PAT by Shedd was good to give the Green Wave a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Green Wave head coach Rick Johnston started substituting the backup players at the end of the first quarter.
The Green Wave fumbled the ball to start the second quarter and Bayou recovered it on the Green Wave 42 yard line but a collision with the Green Wave defense put a stop to any Bayou thoughts of scoring.
A few minutes later, quarterback Forrest Wilbanks scored on a 19 yard run. With the extra point, the Green Wave led 21-0.
The Colts fumbled and Green Wave Jacob Gurley recovered it on his own 23 yard line.
Wilbanks, Maples and Hunter Coy carried the ball down the field. With 3:30 on the clock, Coy scored on a 22 yard run and the PAT was good.
A few seconds later, the Colts fumbled the ball and Adam Goodwin recovered it on Bayou’s 27 yard line.
With 3:08 on the clock, Maples scored on a 27 yard run but the PAT failed.
The Green Wave led 34-0.
The Green Wave defense kept up its dominance with a Bryce Raddatz interception with 2:01 on the clock.
Evan West help moved the ball down the field and with 1:08 on the clock, Patrick Ellis took the ball 46 yards into the endzone. With the PAT, the Green Wave led 41-0 at the half.
Playing for the Green Wave were Brandon Smith, J.R. Walker, Justin Howell, Jim Beard, Nick Douglas, and Hunter Calvert.
At the half, the Green Wave had a total offense of 288 yards.
The Green Wave received the kickoff from Josh Fields to start the third quarter. Harrison Nickle came in as quarterback for the Green Wave. With 2:35 left in the third quarter, Evan West scored his first touchdown of the season on a two-yard run. The PAT was good to give the Green Wave a 48-0 lead.
With a few seconds remaining on the clock, Jae Medders scored on a 68-yard run for the Colts and the PAT by Josh Fields was good to put the Colts on the scoreboard at the end of the third quarter.
To start the fourth quarter, Dakota Wills scored on a 40 yard fumble return, and the PAT by Fields was good to cut the Green Wave lead to 48-14.
On the next few drives, Nick Douglas, Adam Goodwin, and Harrison Nickle drove the ball down the field.
With 2:35 left in the game, the Green Wave were faced with a fourth down and four yards to go with the ball on their own 39 yard line. The Green Wave were penalized twice and backed up to the 28 yard line. With only eight seconds left in the game, Nickle took the ball 72 yards for the final score in the game.
The Green Wave had 40 carries for 421 yards and one passing yard for a total offense of 422. The Green Wave fumbled four times and lost two. Jonathan Shedd made 7 of 8 PATs. Ross and Gurley each had one fumble recovery. Raddatz had one interception.
The Colts had 22 carries for 103 yards rushing and they were three for 11 for 36 yards in passing for a total offense of 139 yards. The Colts fumbled three times and lost two.
Maples said it feels great to win the district.
"We still have a long road a head of us with a four week season with the playoffs coming up," said Maples. "The game with Bayou was a great game. We only got to play a half, but it was pretty good. It was sloppy at the beginning, but we were up 41-0 at the half."
Maples was asked what it took for the team to get this far and be 10-0.
"It was a lot of hard work during the summer and being pushed every day really helped to get you motivated to come out and win on Friday nights," Maples said.
In the weeks ahead, Maples said they were going to work hard and hope for the best.
Adam Goodwin said, "It feels pretty good to be district champions. We are the first team at North Delta to be 10-0 at this point of the season and I think that we have practiced really hard and we played really hard. It has taken dedication and heart and just trusting each other for us to be undefeated.
"I think that we have a chance to do something special in the weeks to come," Goodwin continued. "I think that we can win state with hard work and dedication. We will just hope for the best."
Jacob Gurley said that it feels great to be district champions.
"We have been working hard and it is starting to pay off. We have been working hard all summer and everybody has been putting in time. The hard work has definitely got us undefeated. The coaches pushed us all summer and that has paid off now. In the next few weeks, I do know that our guys are going to give it all that they have got and hope for the best to turn out."
Brandon Ciaramitaro said it feels really good to be district champions.
"We worked really hard all during the summer and all through the season to get here," Ciaramitaro said. "We had to work through a couple of injuries with some guys, but overall, I think that we did pretty good.
"It feels great to be district champs, but it is only one step to the big goal that we set our minds to," Ciaramitaro added. "We just have to take one step at a time. It has definitely taken hard work and dedication to get this far. The guys came out every day in the summer and they spent three hours in the heat. Working hard, listening to your coaches, being very coachable, and dedication is the key. Right now, we are preparing for Marshall. We need to get that job done first and become a 11-0 team and then we will be off to the playoffs."
Scott Ross said, "It feels good to be district champions. We have a lot more games to play. The real season starts with the playoffs. I am just proud that we made it that far. It took a lot of playing together to get to this point. We don’t have a whole lot of big time players, so we just all played together. We are all real good friends on and off of the field. We just play as a team. If we come out and keep playing like we have been playing, playing together, then I think that we will have a really good chance to take it all the way."
Coach Lance Thomas agreed it feels good to be district champs.
"I think that our preparation for every game has been really good. The kids have stayed focus. They prepared themselves during the summertime. We have had some really good practices during the week this year, really good film sessions and good senior leadership that has got us this far. Looking ahead, we are going to treat every game the same. We are going to do our best, regardless of who we play."
The Green Wave will be on the road for the final regular season game in Holly Springs at Marshall Academy. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.