ND Football v Benton

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ND offense clicks for win

By Brad Greer
It has taken four games, but after  Friday night’s 21-11 win over Benton Academy, the North Delta offense is beginning to click.

After turning the ball over nine times in the first two games, the Green Wave offense has only committed three in the last eight quarters in wins over Lee, (Ark.) and Benton.

   On the other side of the ball the Wave defense continues to dominate as they held the Raiders to 124 yards total offense with 72 of that on the ground. It marks the third time this season that the Green has held an opponent to under 100 yards rushing.

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But head coach Lance Thomas said there is always room for improvement.

“Can we play better on defense? Yes, we can. I know that is saying a lot, but we are still having some mental breakdowns here and there but we are getting better. Last week  Lee ran the spread (offense) and we were not expecting Benton to run it tonight but they and our kids adjusted to it. But from here on out we will see a lot more of that kind of offense thrown at us,” said Thomas.

 North Delta, (2-2), looked sharp on their opening possession by driving 59 yards on nine plays to take a 6-0 lead with 7:15 left in the quarter on Tres  Brasell 17-yard touchdown scamper.

Senior quarterback Bateman Greenlee’s pass completions of 17 and 18 yards aided the drive. Greenlee finished the night seven-of-14 passing for 102 yards while rushing nine times for 42 yards and a one-yard touchdown plunge on 4th- and goal midway through the third quarter to give the Wave a 14-3 lead.

After a Clark Jackson 40-yard kickoff return, the Raiders got on the board at 4:14 left in the first quarter as Ben Beckwith drilled a 42-yard field goal. Benton’s only other score came late in the game as Jackson intercepted a Greenlee pass and raced 26 yards for the score. Jackson then added the two-point conversion to round out the scoring.

The North Delta defense, which allowed 40 total yards in the second half, snuffed out a Raider scoring threat with 6:50 remaining when Michael Magee pounced on a fumble at the Green Wave 24.

North Delta padded their lead to 21-3 late in the third quarter on a Brasell three-yard run with Bill Gurley adding the PAT. Greenlee set up the score with a 28-yard strike to Jim Tom Copeland. The Wave added another weapon to their offense as sophomore Bryan Nickle, who sustained a broken hand one day before preseason drills began, accounted for 45 yards rushing on just three carries while spelling Greenlee at quarterback.

“ He (Nickle) will give us that extra spark on offense we need,” said Thomas. “With Bateman’s passing and  ‘B’ running the option that is just something else opposing teams will have to look for.”

North Delta totaled up 332 yards on the night, 230 of that on the ground. Brasell led the way with 139 yards on 26 carries while West added three carries for eight yards. Copeland led the receiving corps with three catches for 50 yards while Corbin Baker also hauled in three passes for 35 yards. Nickle caught one pass for 17 yards.

“ I always talk about how young we are and this and that, but we’ve got some sophomore’s that are playing like juniors and are not scared of anybody. But I want to say that we’ve got some seniors out there, (West), Clayton Cole, Greenlee, Bradley Bishop and Brent Davis those four kids, those seniors, I would not give up for anybody . . . That’s the type of senior leadership we need and have gotten from them,” said Thomas.

North Delta will hit the road this Friday night to Holly Springs to take on Marshall at 7:30.