| By Angie Ledbetter
The North Delta Green Waves will travel about an hour and a half away to take on their biggest rival of the year, the Indianola Academy Colonels at Indianola tonight.
This game will be big in the fact that it is one of the biggest district games left on the Green Wave’s schedule and the Green Wave players will be going up against one of their former coaches.
Coach Lance Thomas is the new head coach at Indianola this year and he was at North Delta for three years as an assistant coach. He was the line and strength and conditioning coach to most of the Green Wave team that his team will play against tonight.
The Green Wave enters this game in third place in District 1. The Colonels are in first place with an undefeated district record of 3-0 and they are tied with Lee Academy from Clarksdale.
In district play, the Colonels have shut out Kirk Academy 41-0 September 2, Bayou Academy 42-0 on September 9, and Marshall Academy 60-0 on September 23.
The Green Wave are only one game behind Indianola and Lee Academy with a district record of 2-1 and they really need this win tonight.
After tonight, the Green Waves will have two district games left on their schedule to play for the season.
The Green Wave will go into the game with an overall record of 6-2. The only two loses have come to district rival Lee Academy and 3A Magnolia Heights.
The Colonels will also go into tonight’s game with an overall record of 6-2. Their losses have come at the hands of 3A Oak Hill Academy and 3A Washington Academy. Oak Hill defeated them 34-7 and Washington defeated them 29-16.
One key player to watch on the Colonels’ team tonight will be running back Ben Stallings, who transferred from Bayou Academy this year. Other players to watch will be quarterback Thomas Gresham, Randle Wells, Ryan Lester and Kyle Andrus.
"Ben Stallings is a tremendous athlete and a heck of a football player," Johnston said. "He had some good summer camps and I know that he has some colleges looking at him."
Johnston said that his team knows what is at stake tonight.
"We are going to prepare our butts off this week for them and get ready to play Indianola Academy," he said. "We are going to have to play a mistake-free football game. We are going to have to execute. If we have three or four people doing what they are supposed to be doing and seven or eight not, we are not going to get it done. We have got to come together as one and get this thing done."
As for going against a former assistant, Johnston does not concentrate on that aspect of the game.
"I really don’t have any feelings one way or another," said Johnston. "I wish Coach Thomas the best. He did a tremendous job while he was here at North Delta. I hope that Indianola wins every game except when they play North Delta.
"I think that they have a real good football team," Johnston added.
The game is not about the coaches, according to Johnston, but about the players.
"When going up against his team, our scheme is going to be to try and do better than the people who are trying to stop us," said Johnston.
Two years ago when these two teams played each other, the Colonels came out with the win 9-6. Last year, the Green Wave won the battle with a score of 28-7.
The coaches said throw the record books out the windows when these two teams meet on the gridiron.
Johnston said he hopes the fans and the crowd will be with the team tonight as they have all year long.
Game time is at 7:30 p.m. and it will be broadcast on FM 106.9 with play by play action with Kirk Willingham and Mickey Aldridge. The pregame show is at 7 p.m. with Johnston.
Directions to Indianola football field:
Take Highway 6 West to Marks. Turn left at four way stop sign onto Highway 3. Continue on Highway 3 until it ends at Tutwiler. Take a left onto Highway 49 and go over the railroad tracks. Bare right onto Highway 49 West. This will take you to Indianola. When you get to Indianola, you will take a right onto Highway 82 West. The Indianola Academy football filed may be accessed via State Street or Park Street from Highway 82. You will take a left off of Highway 82 onto State Street or Park Street.