ND v Tunica

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 26, 2008

North Delta must win clash with TIL

By Brad Greer

Do or die. Sink or swim. Win or stay at home.

There are a lot of cliche’s that can best describe tonight’s huge district clash between North Delta and Tunica Institute but one thing is clear, the winner will still be in the playoff chase while the other’s chances of a post-season berth will be just about over.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We’ve got to win every district game to make it to the playoffs. That’s the bottom line,” said Green Wave head coach Lance Thomas. “The kids know what is at stake, they want to go back to the playoffs and I feel like we’ll come out and have a good game tonight.”

Both teams enter the game 0-1 in district play after losing to rival Desoto (Ark.) Tunica fell to the Thunderbirds 13-12 two weeks ago while North Delta dropped a 21-0 verdict on Aug. 29.

The Blue Devils improved their  overall record to 3-1 last week with a 24-18 victory over Winona Christian. Tunica’s other wins came against Deer Creek (34-13) and Greenville Christian (40-21).

North Delta meanwhile fell to 2-3 on the year with a 49-14 thumping at the hands of Marshall. Tres Brasell and Bateman Greenlee got the Wave on the board with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to avoid the shutout.

Senior quarterback Robert Graves (5’8”, 150) will lead the Blue Devils ‘ Wing T’ offense. Joining him in the backfield is running back/defensive end Bartlett Graves (5’8”, 170) who has accounted for 11 touchdowns on the season including three scores in last week’s victory. On defense, Tunica will be led by inside linebacker Chad Lanier and defensive end Chris Manus.

Thomas said one of the keys to the game will be how well his team can keep Bartlett Graves in check.

“He is probably the best tailback in the league. He hits the hole very quickly and someone better be there or he is gone. Tunica has only about 18 players dressed out but they are a very well-coached team. I have a lot of respect for coach (Lance) Beach. He is a retired public school guy that has been coaching some 35 years or so and I am not going to lie to you there are times when I call him on the phone just to pick his brain so to speak. The man knows his football,” said Thomas.

Beach said despite their record, North Delta is a team to be reckoned with.

“Football is a game of inches and with a couple of breaks here and there, they could be 3-1 just like we could be 4-0. We lose a one-point game at home to Desoto and they (North Delta) lose to 21-0 in a game that was 7-0 at the end of the third quarter. They are a whole lot better than their record shows.”

Game time kickoff is set for 7:30.