Football Preview-ND Thomas

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 30, 2008

As district champs, ND has bull’s eye on chest

By Brad Greer

In the span of two seasons, the North Delta Green Wave has gone from being the hunters to the hunted.

Fresh off a 9-4  record   in 2007 which included a District 1-A championship, the Wave will have a bull’s eye on its chest and is  the team that everyone will be gunning for this season. But when asked what would be tougher, first-year head coach Lance Thomas said the hunted would be a lot easier.

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“Being the defending district champions means we are going to get every opponent’s best shot. We are the team everybody wants to beat. North Delta has been a very successful program in the past and I’ve been part of that success for six years. We are a very young football team and we are going through a youth movement right now. We are going to go through some tough times, but as time goes along, I see us having a good football team,” said Thomas, who took over the reigns from Richard Russo who resigned in the spring.

Thomas, a 1999 graduate of Mississippi State, has spent the last six seasons at North Delta.

The Green Wave returns 10 starters, five each on offense and defense, from last year’s squad that lost to Briarfield, (La.) in the second round of the state playoffs.

Leading the team under center will be senior quarterback Bateman Greenlee (6’4″, 185 pounds). As a junior, Greenlee started the last six games of the season in guiding the team to a 5-1 record.

Joining him in the backfield will be running backs Tres  Brasell (Soph,. 6’1″, 165) and  Geri Lamm (Jr., 5’7″; 145) while  Hunter West (Sr., 5’9″, 170) John Paul Keel (Jr., 5’9″, 175) and  Michael Magee (Soph., 5’11”, 160) will vie for the fullback position.

 Greenlee will have a pair of tall targets to throw to as  Jim Tom Copeland (Soph., 6’4″, 190) and Oxford transfer Chris Reeves (Jr., 6’4″, 185) lead the receiving corps. Others seeing playing time will be Ryan King (Sr., 5’10”, 150),  Hayden Renfro (Jr., 5’11”, 145), Corbin Baker (Soph., 5’10”, 140) and John Cody Dalrymple (Soph., 5’7″, 135). Seniors Britt Lawrence (5-10; 195) and Cameron Goodwin (5’11”, 200) will be at the tight end slot.

In the offensive trenches, look for Bradley Bishop ( Soph., 5’9″, 165) and Travis Overall (Jr., 6’3″, 215) at center while Conor  Ferguson (Jr., 6’0″, 276)   Bill Gurley (Jr., 6’0″, 220) and   Robbie Bell (Jr., 6’0″, 200) will be the guards with Anthony Pike (Soph., 5’11”, 215) Brent Davis (Sr., 6’0″, 285) and Clayton Cole (Sr., 6’3″, 315) are the tackles.

On the other side of the ball, the Wave will go with a ‘split-four’ or a  4-3 defense. Greenlee will be at an end spot while Coffeeville transfer Jay McClora (Sr., 6’0″, 210) will be the other end. Pike, Davis, Cole and Ming Bullard (Soph., 5’11”, 265) are inside at the tackle spots. Lawrence, West, Keel and Carson Bailey (Soph., 6’0″, 175) look for playing time as linebackers.

Bryan   Nickle (Soph., 5’9″, 145) Brasell, Lamm, Dalrymple and Baker are all expected to see playing time in the defensive backfield. Thomas said Gurley and Magee are in a deadlock for kicking chores.

North Delta’s schedule will be a tough one as they  hit the road seven times this season. After opening at home against Strider Friday, the Wave will open defense of their district title this Friday at Desoto, Ark. with another trip to Lee, Ark.  the following week. After an open date on Sept. 12, the Wave will travel to Holly Springs to tangle with  Class AA runner-up Marshall Academy before retuning home to face Tunica. The Green Wave will close out the regular season on Halloween night at  Winona Christian.

Thomas said the district race should be very tight and that every team should be competitive.

“I  really do not see a weak team in the district. Every Friday night will be a battle. Desoto and Marvell look really strong. Even though Delta does not have a bunch of players, they beat us last year and seem to always get pumped up to play us. So we’ve got to be ready to play every week,” said Thomas.

Assisting Thomas this season will be Brad Wilson and Hayden Sullivant.