ND Green Wave
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Green Wave flounder with injured quarterback restricted
By Angie Ledbetter
Many fans wondered what happened to the Green Wave team who defeated tough rival Desoto Ark. last week.
North Delta fell to Lee Academy of Marianna, Ark. 18-7 Friday night and did not look like the same team from the week before.
Several questions popped up about the game on Friday night like: were the results due to the fact that the team had to play without senior starting quarterback J.T. “Jet” Dalrymple, who was restricted to kicking and punting duties due to a shoulder injury?
Were the results due to the fact that the Cougars might have been overlooked due to the fact that they came in winless?
Or were the results due to the fact that many players missed their assignments and did not play like they were capable of?
All of those are possible scenarios, but the Green Wave team still lost a very close game despite fighting the battle to the very end. This game may not have counted as far as a trip to the state championship, but it counted in the player’s hearts with the Green Wave team.
Blane Joyner, a sophomore, stepped on to the field and took on the responsibilities of quarterback despite limited experience at that position. He completed five of 10 passesfor 62 yards with one interception. He also scored a 12-yard touchdown.
The Green Wave finished with 219 yards total offense. They had 43 carries for 157 yards rushing and 62 yards passing. They had 11 first downs, six penalties for 30 yards, four kickoff returns for 41 yards, and two fumbles they recovered.
Dalrymple had four punts for 172 yards. His only PAT of the night was good.
Devin Maples led the team on offense with 109 yards on 17 rushes. He also had one reception for 14 yards. Michael Johnson had three receptions for 47 yards. Hunter West had 10 rushes for 36 yards.
On the defense side of the ball, John Paul Keel lead the team with 10 tackles, 1 quarterback sack, and 1 tackle for a loss. Josh
Garrott and Britt Lawrence had 10 tackles each. Hunter West had 8 tackles, 1 quarterback sack, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 tackle for a loss. Blane Joyner had 7 tackles.
The Cougars ended the game with 304 total offense yards on 50 plays. They had 10 first downs, 4 penalties for 25 yards, and lost 1 of 1 fumble. They had 3 punts for 120 yards which was an average of 40 yards, 2 kickoff returns for 20 yards, and 1 interception return for 6 yards.
In the first quarter of the game, the Cougars fumbled the ball with 3:41 left on the clock. Green Wave Hunter West recovered the ball. With 1:49 left on the clock, Michael Johnson caught a long pass from Joyner to gain a first down for the Green Wave. Unable to drive the ball into the endzone, the quarter ended with a 0-0 score.
It was a battle in the second quarter when both team’s defense stepped up. The Cougars finally got their offense down the field with 4:22 left in the first half of the game. Ross Dunn scored on a 3 yard run but the PAT was blocked. The Cougars had a 6-0 lead at halftime.
The Green Wave made some adjustments at the half and came out on the field still fighting. Joyner scored on a 12 yard keeper and Dalrymple got to come out on the field and make the PAT for his team. The Green Wave took the lead 7-6 over the Cougars with 10:10 on the clock. The Cougars got on the scoreboard again with 3:10 left in the third quarter when Dunn broke lose and took the ball 98 yards into the endzone for a touchdown, but not without Green Wave John Paul Keel giving it all
that he had running to catch Dunn. Keel’s run ended about the 20 yard line and Dunn took the ball into the endzone. The two
point conversion was no good but the Cougars took the lead back from the Green Wave 12-7 at the end of the third quarter.
The battle continued for both teams in the fourth quarter. It was a defensive battle and the Green Wave continued to
fight hard. The battle was finally over with 2:37 left in the game. Dunn scored his third touchdown of the evening on a 22 yard
run and the two point conversion failed but the Cougars went home with their first win of the season by defeating the Green Wave
18-7 and giving the Green Wave their first loss of the season.
Head Green Wave Coach Richard Russo said that his team had some chances but didn’t get the job done. “We came out and it
was 0-0 for a long time. We drove the ball down and got inside the red zone and didn’t score. That was huge. Then we allowed
them to score on a busted long run and they got down in our red zone and I thought that our defense was going to be tough, but Lee
eventually broke through. We forced a bad PAT but we didn’t block it, so we went in at halftime down 6-0.”
Russo praised his coaching staff and the players for their halftime adjustments. “Hats off to our kids and coaching staff
for making great halftime adjustments,” said Russo. “We came out and the first drive we took it to them and quickly scored. JT
hit the PAT to take us up 7-6. At that point I was feeling real good and so was the team. Then we got a defensive stop. They
got a defensive stop and we pinned them deep on the two yard line. We just absolutely did a cardinal scene of football and we
missed some tackles allowing them to go 98 yards for a touchdown. That was the game pretty much. We did get the ball back with
chances to go up but we never could break into their side of the field again. I felt like a lot of the kids on our team fought
hard and we just came out on the short end of the stick.”
Russo said that the difference in last week’s game with Desoto and this game is the young players on the field. “A lot of
times, sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen year old boys’ minds are fragile. They’re not as mentally tough as we’d like for them to
be sometimes. This is a case where JT wasn’t in the game and I think that it took a lot of sap out of our kids. We’ve got to
play football regardless who is on the field, whatever eleven is on the field. That’s just the way it’s got to be.”
“The guys were very dejected after the game,” said Russo. “The real football players in that locker room were very sad
and it was evidence on their faces.”
What’s the plan now for the Green Wave team? “We’re still 1-0 in our district, so we still have a winning record,” said
Russo. “We just have to get back to work on Monday and get ready for Calhoun Academy. We may have a few position changes but
that’s what we coaches are paid to do, try to get the best out of our kids. We had no choice for the night to put in the
inexperienced quarterback that we did. Monday, when we go back to work, we’re going to find us one.”