ND and Pope Jr High

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 2, 2007

North Delta Jr. High gets payback against Pope 35-8

By Angie Ledbetter

North Delta Jr. High turned around a stomping by Pope in the spring to their own stomping, 35-8, at home Tuesday night.

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The support for both the Green Wave and the Bulldogs was in evidence by the crowd which was into the game. In late May, the Green Wave and the Pope Bulldogs played each other for the first time in school history at Pope. Each coach thought that it was good for the community and wanted to keep the tradition going.

In the spring, it was all Pope Bulldogs and the North Delta had to give up bragging rights for a few months but never forgot.

On Tuesday night, the Green Wave team left with those bragging rights and will keep them until next year. They were very excited and wanted to win this game.

The Green Wave led 35-0   until 3:52 left in the game. Pope scored on the Green Wave’s second defense. The Bulldogs went completed a two-point conversion to finalize the score.

For the Green Wave, Chris Rogers had four carries for 144 yards and three touchdowns with his longest being a 71-yard run.

John Cody Dalrymple had one carry for a 48-yard touchdown. Tres Brassel had one carry for a nine-yard touchdown.

Jim Tom Copeland had 43 yards receiving, Dalrymple 11, and Luke Williams, three. Michael Magee made five of five extra points.

“The Junior High was very polished,” said head coach Richard Russo. “Offensively, defensively, and special teams, they did what they needed to do. They executed well.”

Russo praised Pope coach Mike Turner saying he did a good job good of game planning.

“He took away our favorite inside plays and gave us no choice but to run to the perimeter,” Russo said. “He does a good job especially considering that he is the only coach there. He doesn’t have any help and I have a lot of respect for him.”

Chris Rogers carried the ball only four attempts but had 144 yards rushing and three touchdowns, his longest a 71-yard touchdown.

“Chris did an outstanding job,” Russo said. “He had never played tailback before. He came to us wanting to transfer here during summer workouts and all I had to do was watch him in the weight room. I knew that he could be an effective tailback for us.”

Russo said being perfect on extra points is clutch whether a player is in junior high or high school.

“I’m very proud of Michael,” he said. “Last year, we had open tryouts for kickers when he was in the eighth grade and he did not do as well. But he really worked hard this summer and came back for open tryouts this fall and stole the position away.”

Magee also led the team in tackles with six, had one tackle for a loss and one forced fumble.

Russo talked about the first string defense which held the Bulldogs to zero points.

“Coach Turner doesn’t have a lot of offensive plays, but they rep them and they try to get good at those few offensive plays,” said Russo. “We had seen them in the spring game and we had film on them and we had been practicing for them for a week and a half. Our kids knew what to expect. Nothing they ran freaked us out. They knew what to expect and they did their assignments full speed and shut them down. I was very proud of them.”

Every player played, which pleased the coach. He said he also saw some surprises.

“Young Taylor Morris is a seventh grader who came over from South Panola and he laid some licks,” Russo said. “He really showed us coaches something the other night and we’re excited about that.”

Russo also praised Hunt Howell for running the ball well, along with Jonathan Mackey and Chase Bruce.

“Renic Greenlee, for his first quarterback in action, hit the field as our third string quarterback when Bailey Guckert got hurt earlier in the season,” Russo said. “He did a good job managing our offense for his first time out there.”

Scoring for the Bulldogs was Tyler Beard on a seven-yard run. Leading the defense for Pope was Zachary Pitcock with three tackles.

“The team was very excited,” Russo said. “It was almost like they had won a championship of some sort. They were really pumped up. It was a fun time to be in that locker room.”

John Cody Dalrymple said, “It felt real good to win. We ran the ball full speed and we beat them. To stop them we used technique. I had a lot of friends over on the other side and I just told them good game.”

Freshman Ming Bullard who came from Pope School, was fired up the most. He let every player take part in shaving his head after the game in the locker room. It was an agreement between him and the players if they won the game.

“I wanted some motivation to beat Pope,” Bullard said. “I hope that the whole team can get some of my hair. Coach Russo always says that we are family so I trust all the players shaving my head. My mother doesn’t know that I am doing this, but she will see when I get home tonight.”