ND Football

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2010

North Delta senior defensive back John Cody Dalrymple returns one of his three interceptions of the night against Indianola. Photo by Martha Mills, NDS

Green Wave ‘D’ puts clamps on Indianola

By Brad Greer

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If Friday night’s North Delta-Indianola game was any indication of how the District 1-AA race will unfold this season, it should give fans from each school plenty of excitement.

North Delta  capitalized on five Indianola turnovers while overcoming three miscues of their own to take a 24-13 victory over the home standing Colonels in the district opener for both schools.

Junior tailback Chris Rodgers rushed for 72 yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns while senior quarterback Bryan Nickle added 78 yards and one touchdown as the Green Wave improved to 3-1 on the season. Indianola meanwhile fell to 3-1 on the year.

North Delta’s defense played a key role in the victory by holding the Indianola offense to 67 yards rushing in the game including minus four yards on the ground in the third quarter. John Cody Dalrymple picked off Colonel quarterback Caleb Dodson three times while Carson Bailey added a pair of quarterback sacks. Michael Magee and Taylor Morris registered six tackles each while Nickle and defensive lineman Sy Pritchard each recovered fumbles.

After the game, North Delta head coach Dan Werner summed up his team’s effort in one word.

“Heart,” the second-year head coach said. “The kids went out and played on heart and character tonight and that is about all it was.

“Indianola drove the ball down the field on us on their opening drive of the game, but our guys kept battling and caused a couple of turnovers,” he added. “As the game went on, we started moving the ball and came up with some big plays on both sides of the ball. These guys just don’t quit. This is two weeks in a row we have came from behind when we could have easily quit but they did not.”

Things did not start off well for the Green Wave as Indianola took the opening kickoff and marched 54 yards on 14 plays to take a 7-0 lead on Dodson’s three-yard run with 6:38 left in the first period. North Delta took its opening possession and drove to the Colonel 38, before a Dalrymple fumble ended the drive.

After forcing Indianola to punt on their next series of downs, North Delta embarked on a 20-play, 94-yard drive that was capped by Rodgers’ one-yard run with 10 seconds remaining before halftime to knot the game at seven after Kyle Devazier’s PAT. Rodgers and Nickle combined for 67 yards on the drive that took 7:35 off the clock.

“That drive was just amazing. How many times in the college or even the pro level have you seen a 20-play drive like that?” Werner asked. “That was huge for us to score and go into halftime tied at seven. Chris did a great job filling in for Tres (Brasell) and what can you say about ‘B’ (Nickle), the kid never gives up. He is just a football player. That is the only way I can describe him, plain and simple.”

After both teams turned the ball over three times in a five-minute span to start the second half, North Delta took a 14-7 lead on one of the strangest plays of the season.

After Rodgers fumbled on the Colonel 25-yard line, Indianola linebacker Taylor Marlow scooped up the ball and tried to advance down the field, Nickle stripped Marlow of the ball and raced 27 yards for the score with 2:13 left in the third quarter.

North Delta extended their lead  as Rodgers bolted into the end zone from 10 yards out to make the score 21-7 with 9:24 left in the contest. Dalrymple’s 14-yard pass reception and Magee’s 12-yard run down to the Indianola 17 keyed the drive.

The Colonels would strike back however after Luke Hargett returned the kickoff to midfield to start Indianola’s next series.

Dodson directed the Colonels on a four-play, 50-yard scoring drive by hitting Trey Roberson on a 20-yard touchdown pass to close the margin to 21-13 with 8:13 remaining in the game. Indianola’s two-point conversion attempt failed as Marlow was stuffed by a whole host of Green Wave linemen at the one-yard line.

After North Delta’s next drive stalled at the Colonel 40, Dodson fumbled Bailey’s punt on the Indianola’s 10-yard line with Nickle recovering. Three plays later, Devazier booted a 19-yard field goal to pad the Green Wave lead to 24-13 at the 1:38 mark.

Indianola’s last gasp fell on deaf ears as Dalrymple picked off Dodson for the third and final time in the end zone before returning the ball 45 yards with three seconds remaining where North Delta ran out the clock.

North Delta registered 210 yards on the ground and 104 passing for 314 total yards of  offense. Indianola finished the contest with 266 yards with 199 of that coming through the air. Corbin Baker led the North Delta receiving corps with three catches for 51 yards while Dalrymple added two receptions for 22 yards. Rodgers added one catch for nine yards and Kasey Livingston also added one catch for 22 yards.

North Delta will have a open date this week before hosting Marshall in key district clash next Friday.