| By Angie Ledbetter
While some teams in South Mississippi and Louisiana were still not playing football due to Rita, a second hurricane, the Green Wave were in action in Louisville.
The Green Waves were battling it out against a historically fine 2A Winston Academy team. The Green Waves got back in the winning column as they defeated the Winston Patriots 28-8.
The Green Waves dominated the game in rushing yards with 350 to the Patriot’s 189.
The Green Wave accounted for 65 of the 128 penalty yards.
According to Green Wave head football coach Rick Johnston, some of the penalties were just hustling penalties as usual for his Green Wave team.
The Green Wave team was much improved this week as far as turnovers. They finished the night with no turnovers. For this game, the Green Waves were on the other side of the turnovers and they benefited from them. The Patriots had 2 interceptions and 1 fumble for the night.
To get back to winning, Johnston said the team "got at each other pretty good on Monday and Tuesday."
He said Monday was one of the most physical practices they had had in awhile.
"We moved a bunch of guys around this week on the defensive side," Johnston said. "I think we had only one kid that played in the same spot that he started in the Magnolia Heights game the week before. I thought that the effort was a whole lot better."
Mostly, North Delta had everybody playing and doing what they were supposed to do, according to Johnston.
"Our offensive line really stepped up the game Friday night," Johnston said. "It was by far the best game offensively that we have had straight across the line and that was good to see. That group is finally coming together. They are just a really young group and it just takes a little time."
Senior running back Dustin Maples finished the game with 210 yards on 30 carries with two touchdowns.
"He had a big night," said Johnston. "We played Dakota Mabry back there at the tailback and he had some nice runs. You can go with quickness with Dustin or you can go with the powerback with running behind Patrick Ellis and I think that it is a good one-two punch."
Dakota Mabry had 76 yards on 13 carries. Patrick Ellis had 32 yards on two carries with one touchdown. Forrest Wilbanks had eight carries for 29 yards with one touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, Heath Reed and Patrick Ellis each had one interception.
Jon Michael Ware was moved to inside linebacker, where he had been the backup guy there for about two years. Ware registered 14 solo tackles and three or four assists.
"Jon Michael had a big, big night for us," Johnston said. "I was very pleased with the effort. I thought that Christian Amberson and Forrest Wilbanks were real solid at the defensive ends. I thought that we got some good plays from out of our tackles. We played a bunch of people in there and those people are getting better and better every week.
"It was a team effort," Johnston continued. "We had two new corners in there. We moved Evan West back to corner where I think is his natural position."
West had a couple of pass breakups and did a good job not of letting anybody behind him all night, according to Johnston.
"Dustin Maples played his first entire game of his career defensively the other night and I thought that he did a good job at the other corner," Johnston said. "So, I was just pleased with that. It was just a matter of shaking things up and going at it from a little different direction for some people."
"Winston was a real good team," said Johnston. "They were very physical and we did a good job."
The first quarter of the game between these two teams ended with neither team scoring. The first score came with 39 seconds left in the second quarter, when Dustin Maples took the ball from two yards out into the endzone. The two point conversion failed and the Green Wave led 6-0 at the half.
In the third quarter with 9:29 on the clock, Forrest Wilbanks scored on a two-yard keeper for the Green Wave. The two point conversion by Dustin Maples was good for the Green Wave to take a 14-0 lead.
Patrick Ellis scored when he never got touched as he went into the endzone from 23 yards out. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, so the Green Wave went up 20-0 with 5:57 on the clock.
A few plays later, the Patriots fumbled the ball and Dakota Mabry recovered it for the Green wave on the Patriot’s 33 yard line.
The Green Wave took over 1st and 10 on the 29. With 2:27 on the clock, the Green Wave scored a touchdown, but it was called back due to a holding penalty. The third quarter ended with the Green Wave up 20-0.
The Green Waves scored their last touchdown with 9:33 left in the game when Maples took the ball 25 yards into the endzone. The PAT snap was mishandled so Mabry took the ball into the endzone for two points to give the Green Wave a 28-0 lead over the Patriots.
With 8:57 left in the game, Patrick Ellis intercepted the Patriot’s ball on the Green Wave’s own 30 yard line. Dustin Maples took the ball down to the Patriot’s 40 yard line on the next run. The Patriot’s defense stepped up and kept the Green Wave out of the endzone on this drive.
Johnston started substituting other players in the game at this time. In for quarterback Wilbanks was Chris Pike.
The Patriots got on the scoreboard with 58 seconds left in the game when Jeremy Hill scored on a seven yard pass from Luke White. The two point conversion was good by Trenton Cockerell to cut the Green Wave score 28-8.
The Green Waves record stands 4-2 overall, 2-1 district. They will be back in district action Friday night at home to host the Kirk Academy Raiders.