ND football v Desoto

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 9, 2008

ND hangs on to first half lead to win

By Brad Greer

Through  the first  three  games  this  season, the  North Delta  football  team  has  given  fans their  money’s worth and a whole lot more. Friday night was no exception.

Leading 25-0 at halftime, the Green Wave held off a furious second-half rally by Lee, (Ark.) for a 25-20 victory over the homestanding Cougars to record their first win of the year.

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Despite the win, head coach Lance Thomas said there are more improvements to be made.

“ I am happy we won, but I’m not pleased with the way we played. I am happy our guys got a ‘W.’ We still have not played up to our capabilities as of yet and I think our kids understand that,” said Thomas. “We’ve got to find a way to put more pressure on the quarterback. I was very pleased with   the effort our kids gave tonight.”

The first half was all North Delta as they came out of the locker room clicking on all cylinders. After stopping the Cougars on 4th and 1 from their own 28, the Green Wave offense struck on their possession of the game as 6-foot-4 sophomore receiver Jim Tom Copeland outjumped 5’10” cornerback Blayne Beene  for a 37-yard touchdown from quarterback Bateman Greenlee with 6:41 left in the first quarter with Michael Magee adding the PAT.

After holding the Cougars to another three-and-out on the series, North Delta started on their own two, but then marched 98 yards on eight plays capped off by a Hunter West 16-yard run to increase the lead to 13-0. Tres Brasell’s 21-yard run to the Lee 49 and a 30-yard pass from Greenlee to Corbin Baker on 3rd-and-7 from the Cougar 46 kept the drive alive.

  North Delta’s defense came up with a huge defensive stop to begin the second quarter as Lee drove 52 yards on 16 plays to the Green Wave 4.

Three running plays produced three yards to set up a 4th-and-goal at the 1. The Cougars decision to go for it backfired as Christian Duke was stonewalled by a whole host of Wave defenders short of the goal line.

North Delta then embarked on their most impressive drive of the night by going 99 yards on 14 plays in 5:58 as Greenlee hooked up with Copeland again for a 35-yard scoring strike for a 19-0 lead with 1:31 remaining before halftime.

The Green Wave added its final score of the night with less than 30 seconds left  in the half on Lamm’s four-yard scoring run following a 46-yard pass from Greenlee to Copeland.

“We really needed to win this game. Both of us were 0-2 coming into the game and somebody had to win, I’m just glad it was us. We played hard, start to finish and that was something we had not done in the first  two games,” said Copeland who finished with four receptions for 135 yards.

“Bateman and I were on the same page tonight and we had the matchup we wanted. All I did mostly was  get open and he put it on the money,” Copeland added.

Just as North Delta dominated the first half, the last 24 minutes belonged to the Cougars as the home team outgained the Green Wave 210-50 in total yardage. Lee got on the board when quarterback Kolby Ball hooked up with Clint Sparks on a 24-yard touchdown pass with 8:30 left in the period for a 25-6 North Delta lead.

Following  a three-and-out for the Wave, Ball got the Cougars’ spread offense rolling as the senior directed Lee down the field on a seven-play, 53-yard scoring drive by hitting Beene on a 27-yard scoring pass at the 3:24 mark. Ball then ran in the two-point conversion attempt that left the score 25-14.

Lee got the ball back less than a minute later when Sparks made a diving interception of a Greenlee pass on the Cougar 38. Pass completions of 14, 9, 8 and 7 yards moved the ball to the Wave 10 where Ball connected with Brett Waldrip for a touchdown. Ball’s pass for the two-point conversion failed to make the score 25-20 with 11:24 left in the game.

After both teams exchanged punts, North Delta’s defense again rose to the occasion by stopping a Lee drive with 6:36. With the home crowd on its feet and facing a 3rd-and-9 from their own 34, Greenlee completed a huge 12-yard pass to Brasell for the Wave’s only first down of the second half. North Delta then ran out the clock largely in part due to the running of West who ran eight plays on the drive.

“This was a big win for us, I was not too proud of the way we played in the second half. We controlled the first half but came out cold in the second,” said West. “I got some totes in the fourth quarter and I did pretty good. I was proud of our defense tonight, they were not going to run on us and even though we gave up some big plays we stopped them when it counted.”

West led North Delta in rushing with 101 yards on 15 carries. Brasell followed with 11 carries for 34 yards while Magee added 14 yards. Greenlee   completed 6-of-8 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns and an interception. The Green Wave amassed 342 total yards on the night while Lee rolled up 264 yards, 238 of that coming through the air.

North Delta has added a game in what was an open date on Friday. The Green Wave will host Benton Academy at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30 in non-district action.