ND v Winona

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Green Wave finish out regular season with upset over Winona

By Angie Ledbetter

The North Delta Green Wave ended its regular season on Friday night upsetting the 3-1A District Champion Winona Christian Stars (9-1) 34-24.

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But the 8-3 Green Wave record comes with a price as senior Josh Garrott went out with a concussion just prior to halftime and will not return to football action this season.

After speaking with Garrott over the telephone, he said his vision was improving. Garrott had missed three games this season due to previous concussions, but returned to play in the district championship game against West Memphis.

The Green Wave faced the Winona Christian Stars who entered the game with a 9-1 overall record and the district 3-1A championship and won 34-24.

Before the game started, #9 Josh Garrott was honored as one of the six senior football players and was on the field with his parents, Dr. Andy and Sue Garrott.  He played wide receiver/runningback and defensive back for the Green Wave team.

Garrott , before he would let his parents and the doctor leave with him, he wrote on the board in the field house “I’m sorry, heck of a game,  they sent me home, sorry I couldn’t celebrate with yall!”   The Green Wave team saw this note on the board at halftime and they decided then that they had to win for Garrott.

The first quarter began with both teams’ defenses playing very hard and holding the others offenses scoreless. The Winona Stars got on the scoreboard first with 1:55 left on the clock when Kyle Mills scored on a two yard run and Matt Conner made the two point conversion to give the Stars an 8-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Green Wave came back in the second quarter using its air game.  With 10:07 on the clock, freshman Jim Tom Copeland scored on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Bateman Greenlee. The score stood 8-6 after the two point conversion failed.

Five minutes later, the Stars scored again on a Jeremy Boyette six-yard pass from Ryan Smith. Blane Joyner did get a tip on the ball, but Smith was right behind him and able to make the catch. Conner’s two-point run was good to give Winona the 16-6 lead.  

Minutes later, Garrott was escorted off the field and the Green Wave came out fighting.  With 19:5 seconds left on the clock, Michael Johnson caught a 76-yard pass from Greenlee, but the run failed to give Winona the 16-12 halftime lead.

The last time the Stars would be allowed to score was in the third quarter with 7:03 on the clock. Smith caught a nine-yard pass from Chase Amason. The two point run by Mills was good to give the Stars a 24-12 lead.

With 2:17 left in the third quarter, J.T. Dalrymple scored on a 12-yard reception from Greenlee. The PAT by Dalrymple was good to cut the Winona lead 24-19.

The Green Wave controlled the fourth quarter. It was all Green Wave football as they shut the Stars out and started their march to victory.

Michael Johnson caught a 19-yard pass from Greenlee for his second touchdown of the night. The two point conversion pass from Greenlee to Dalrymple was good to give the Green Wave the lead for the first time of the night, 27-24.

With 3:45 left in the game, Greenlee scored on a one-yard quarterback keeper to pad the score. The PAT by Dalrymple was good to give the Green Wave the 34-24 win.

The Green Wave finished the game with 340 total yards, including 119 on the ground and 221 passing.  The Stars had 231 total yards, 206 on the ground and 25 passing.

Greenlee completed 13 of 20 passes for 221 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Greenlee also had 24 yards on seven carries and a rushing touchdown.

Rushing the ball for 61 yards on 12 carries was Dalrymple.

Michael Johnson had nine receptions for 192 yards with two touchdowns.  Dalrymple had three receptions for 13 yards and one touchdown. Copeland had one reception for 13 yards and one touchdown.

On the defense, Hunter West lead the team with 13 tackles, one for loss yards.  Bateman Greenlee had 10 total tackles, three for loss yards, one sack, and one forced fumble. Blane Joyner also had 10 total tackles and one fumble recovery.

Seth Barnett had eight total tackles, two for loss, one interception and one pass breakup.  Britt Lawrence and John Paul Keel had seven tackles each. Garrott had five total tackles. Dalrymple also had five total tackles, one pass breakup and pulled down his eightth interception of the season.

Head Green Wave coach Richard Russo told the team after the game, “Eight and three and we just finished the season. On Sunday morning at 12:01 a.m. we are now 0-0.  You are now in the last 16 teams in the state and you just beat the heck out of one of them. You beat Desoto and Marvell is probably going to slip in and you beat them. You’re in the final 16. Enjoy this because I am going to enjoy it.”

Bateman Greenlee said that the win felt great.

“It means that we have got the swag and everybody is going to be scared of us now,” Greenlee said. “On the first play, I messed up.  On the second play, I stepped up and threw it and the line gave me the best pass blocking that I have ever seen in my entire life. This was the best that we have played all year but it’s not the best that we are going to play.”

Johnson said he did play the first quarter because he did not practice on Tuesday so he went out and played the last three quarters to make up for missing the first one.

“I caught a couple of passes and I ran a lot of posts,” Johnson said. “So I told the coach to call a fade on me, and he did and I scored. I strutted all the way back to the sideline. This win feels so good. I want to tell Josh that I love him.”

Britt Lawrence talked about the Green Wave defense.

“We probably stepped up against the best running team that we have seen all year, to me,” Lawrence said. “Our defense played one of our best games since Desoto.  I want to tell Josh not to worry about it because even without him, we are going to get it for you. We are going to get you a ring even though you aren’t playing and we love you.”

Clayton Cole said, “They were real good and a real class act team. They had a lot of big guys that were strong. Their backs were real good.   They were well coached and they were a real good team. It felt good to beat them.  Now we have to come back on Monday and start working hard on Hebron.  Winona shut them out last week 48-0. You can’t underestimate anybody at this point of the game. I want to tell Josh that we are going to get it for him and we love him.”

Dalrymple said that it felt good to come out with a win because the Winona players were big, fast and strong.  

“Their record threw me for a little bit,” Dalrymple said. “Any team that comes up in here like that up against a team as small as we are will turn some heads. I struggled in the first half but came out in the second half better. Josh motivated me. I went in and saw him down and he really motivated me. I want to tell him to be there with us because we are going to win for him.”

John Paul Keel said. “I want to tell Josh that we are going to pray for him and we hope that everything is going to be alright. He played a good game to.

Russo said, “I know that their defense was well publicized for only allowing 40 points all season going into the game, but their offense was very impressive on film going into the game.”

Russo praised the Green Wave defense  for doing a “good job” of stopping Winona and holding them under 200 total yards, especially in the second half.

“The defensive and offensive lines played at the highest level that they have played at all season,” he said. “Hats off to Coach (Lance) Thomas and our lineman for being the strong link in the chain on Friday night. I was thrilled with our passing game and the timing between Bateman and the wide receivers. This was a big team win for us and will hopefully boost our momentum going into the playoffs.”

Losing team leader Garrott for the rest of the season  marred the victory, Russo said.

“While Josh is irreplaceable, some other players need to step up and up their game to try and fill his shoes,” Russo challenged.

Coach Brad Wilson said they spoke to the team all  week long just about competing.

“This was one of the best wins that I have ever had,” Wilson said. “It was hard to see Josh go down. I want to tell him that I love him and I wish that he could be here. He is one of the heart and souls of this team and a great senior leader. He lives by actions and they don’t make them any better than him.”       

Thomas said the win also felt good to him.

“That was a good football team that we played,” he said. “They had some good speed and some good kids.  In the fourth quarter, they were tired and we were still fresh. Our kids have been questioned all year about deserving whether they got the swagger or not, I think that they pretty much proved to everybody that they got the swagger back. I think that this is the best that they have played all year.  We can beat anybody.”

The Green Wave will be in action at home hosting the Hebron Christian Eagles in the first round of playoffs on Friday night starting at 7 p.m.