ND Football

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2010

North Delta’s Carson Bailey (right) puts a hard hit on Tunica quarterback Brandon Holmes Friday night. The Green Wave won 48-24. The Panolian photo by Andy Young

Green Wave puts 48-24 hurt on Tunica

By Brad Greer

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A blown transformer in the second quarter put an end to Tunica Academy’s season-opener last week against Greenville Christian.  Friday night, North Delta turned the lights out on the visiting Blue Devils in a more conventional fashion.

Led by the 1-2 punch of Bryan ‘ B’ Nickle and Tres Brasell, the Green Wave built a 26-8 halftime lead then cruised to a 46-24 romp over the Blue Devils to pick up their first victory of the season. Tunica, who came into the contest rated No. 3 in latest Clarion-Ledger Academy 1A poll, dropped to 0-1 on the year.

Nickle led the North Delta option offense to almost perfection as the fleet-footed senior quarterback accounted for three touchdowns, one rushing and two more through the air, while slicing his way through the Blue Devil defense for 113 yards on 13 carries. Brasell, who had been battling through a nagging hip injury sustained two weeks ago, carried the ball 17 times for 128 yards and three touchdowns.

Led by  offensive linemen  Will Reynolds, Anthony Pike, Carson Bailey, Sy Pritchard and Kyle Devazier, the Green Wave rolled up 399 yards of total offense which included 305 yards rushing.

Freeman Gray led Tunica with 119 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns while junior quarterback Brandon Holmes threw for 180 yards on 14-of-29 passing with one touchdown and one interception.

“The offensive line played really well tonight and another big key I thought was our option game. We had them guessing all night. We had several guys who had long runs and hopefully we can keep getting better as the season goes along,“ said North Delta head coach Dan Werner. “Another key factor was field position, I think we started on their side of the 50 three times in the first half and scored all three times. When you get a short field to work with like that you only need a couple of first downs to get in the redzone. It makes things a lot easier.”

After both teams exchanged punts on their initial possessions, North Delta struck first when Nickle connected with John Cody Dalrymple on a 67-yard play-action  pass with 6:50 remaining in the first quarter. Nickle then turned a botched point-after into two points as he hooked up with senior Jim Tom Copeland for the two-point conversion for an 8-0 North Delta lead. Copeland returned to the Green Wave football team late last week after skipping his junior season.

“That touchdown felt real good, it was a bootleg and B. put the ball in my hands and it was open field all the way and I just took it to the house. I dropped a few passes that was right in my hands and that is something I have got to work on,“ said Dalrymple.

The Green Wave quickly got the ball back as Will Magee recovered a squib kick at the Tunica 38. Later on in the drive and facing a 3rd-and-15 from the Blue Devil 28, Chris Rodgers made a outstanding juggling catch from Nickle and raced in for the touchdown at the 1:42 mark of the first quarter to increase the lead to 14-0 after Dalrymple’s PAT fell short.

North Delta’s defense got into the act on the next series as Pritchard picked off a deflected pass at the Tunica 41-yard line that set up a Brasell four-yard run to make the score 20-0 with 11:36 before intermission. Brasell would later tack on a 48-yard scamper at the 4:56 mark to give the home team a 26-0 margin.

Tunica finally got the goose egg off its side of the scoreboard by putting together a six-play, 56-yard drive capped off by Gray’s 23-yard run. Holmes converted the two-point conversion with a short pass to Tyler Billingsley to make the score 26-8 at halftime.

The second half was much of the same as North Delta put the game away after Tunica closed the gap to 26-16 on a Holmes-to-Stephen Gray 24-yard scoring pass with 4:25 remaining in the third period. Brasell added his third touchdown of the game with a five-yard run then added the two-point conversion for a 34-16 Green Wave lead. Runs of 21 and 20 yards by Nickle keyed the 48-yard scoring drive.

In the fourth, Nickle got in the scoring act on a 37-yard keeper with 9:39 left in the game to push the lead to 40-16. Freeman Gray rounded out the Blue Devil scoring with a five-yard run with Billingsley adding the two-point conversion by catching a pass from Holmes.

Backup quarterback Bailey Gurkert put the finishing touches on the romp with a four-yard run with 50 seconds showing on the clock.

Tunica registered 17 first downs to 14 by North Delta. The Green Wave rushed 41 times for 305 yards while the Blue Devils totaled 118 yards on 36 attempts. Holmes completed 14-of-29 passing for 180 yards and one touchdown while Nickle threw for 94 yards on three-of-seven passing and two touchdowns. North Delta had six penalties for 30 yards while Tunica was flagged five times for 35 yards. The Green Wave did not turn the ball over in the contest.

In addition of the 66 yards receiving by Dalrymple, the senior also rushed the ball six times for 43 yards while sophomore fullback Taylor Morris who filled in for injured senior fullback/linebacker Michael Magee chipped in with 17 yards on four totes.

Bailey led the North Delta defensive charge with six tackles and two quarterback sacks.

North Delta will visit Clarksdale Lee Friday night for a 7:30 kickoff.