ND Football

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 28, 2008

W. Memphis wrestles 2nd place from ND

By Brad Greer

Sooner or later the law of averages was bound to catch up with North Delta School.

On three occasions this season the Green Wave had pulled out victories after trailing at halftime, but Friday night that would not be the case.

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Behind a powerful running game and 157 yards rushing from quarterback Preston Pugh, the West Memphis Black Knights marched out of Batesville with a 14-7 key District 1-1A victory. The win sewed up the runner-up spot for the Knights in the playoffs that start next week. North Delta meanwhile must now wait to see if they will qualify for one of two wild card spots remaining.

West Memphis (5-4; 3-2) rolled up 251 yards rushing on an otherwise stout Green Wave defense. Pugh’s 59-yard touchdown run with 10:33 remaining in the second quarter proved to be the game winner as the Black Knight defense held North Delta scoreless in the second half.

“With their ball-control offense, they were getting four and five yards a pop and never could get them in long yardage situations. Our defense held them to 14 points but we never could seem to get anything going on offense,“ said North Delta coach Lance Thomas.

“We’ve lived the last four or five weeks on the edge and it finally caught up to us tonight. I feel like field position was key also. Two or three times there in the second half we started out inside our own 10-yard line and never could get that key first down to get us out of that hole. The kids fought hard just like they have done all season. They played with a lot of heart and character.”

North Delta (6-4; 3-2) received the opening kickoff and drove to the Knights’ 35 before turning the ball over on downs. After both teams exchanged punts, West Memphis got their option offense going with an eight-play 81-yard drive that resulted in Pugh hitting a wide open Wesley Sheffer on a 14-yard touchdown pass. Fullback James Chong was stopped on the two-point conversion attempt, leaving the score 6-0 with 1:09 left in the quarter. Pugh had runs of 21, 14 and 11 yards that keyed the drive.

    After Pugh’s touchdown run made the score 14-0 early in the second quarter, the Green Wave got on the board on the next series. Following a 15-yard late-hit on the kickoff, North Delta started their drive on the Knight’s 45-yard line. Quarterback Bateman Greenlee’s 10-yard completion to Jim Tom Copeland on a 3rd-and-6 moved the ball to the West Memphis 31.

    Bryan Nickle’s 14-yard run later in the drive gave the Wave first-and-goal on the one where Greenlee plowed over to put North Delta on the board with 6:25 remaining before halftime.

    The second half turned into a defensive standstill as both teams drove the ball deep into their opponents territory only to be turned away. Following a Green Wave fumble, West Memphis drove to the North Delta 12-yard line where Chong was stopped by a host the Green Wave defenders on 4th-and 1.

   Later in the fourth quarter, North Delta marched to the Knights 32 only to come away empty handed when Greenlee’s pass to Nickle fell to the turf on a 4th-and-two call.

   After stopping West Memphis on their own 12 with 1:20 left in the contest, the Green Wave had one last gasp to tie or win the game. Starting on their own 24 with one time out left, Greenlee completed passes to Nickle for six and nine yards then picked up eight yards of his own to the 47, but time ran out before another play was ran.

    Greenlee finished the night 13-for-25 passing for 74 yards to go along with six carries for 15 yards. Tres Brasell led North Delta in rushing with 81 yards on 18 carries while Nickle added 28 yards rushing and seven catches for another 28 yards. John Paul Keel and Geri Lamm had four and three yards rushing as the Green Wave totaled up 131 yards rushing and 205 total offense on the night.

    Copeland had three catches for 28 yards while Lamm added a pair of catches for 15 yards. Keel hauled one catch for three yards.

    Seniors Cameron Goodwin, Rob Maddux, Greenlee, Bradley Bishop, Jay McClora, Hunter West, Brent Davis and Clayton Cole as well as the senior cheerleaders were introduced before the game.

   North Delta will close out the regular season Friday night at Winona Christian.