ND Football

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 12, 2010

North Delta senior quarterback Bryan “B” Nickle eludes a pack of Manchester defender in last week’s first round playoff matchup. The Panolian photo by Andy Young

ND and Simpson rematch on tap

By Angie Ledbetter

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The North Delta Green Wave will take to the road for the second round of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools playoffs tonight when they travel to Mendenhall to take on the red, blue and gold Simpson Academy Cougars.

The South Panola Tigers will entertain their home crowd for the first round of the 6A Mississippi High School Activities Association playoffs when the royal blue and scarlet Grenada Chargers visit Robert H. Dunlap Stadium for the first time since 2008.

North Delta

Last year the Green Wave were simply outplayed by Simpson in the first round of the playoffs. Tonight, in his second year of coaching the Green Wave, head coach Dan Werner plans for a different outcome.

As far as the Simpson team, Werner said they’re like they were last year.

“They’re big and physical and can really run. They run the ball probably better than anybody in the state.”

Werner said the Green Wave team has also improved.

“No doubt we’re a much better football team than we were last year,” he said. “To beat them, we’re going to have to protect the ball more and stop their long runs. We turned it over four times last year and they had about three runs that were over 60 yards. That’s our first step that we’ve talked about already.”

The Cougars (9-2 overall) advanced to the second round after defeating the Lamar Academy Raiders 35-14 last week. The Green Wave is coming off a 34-0 win over Manchester to advance.

Simpson head coach Billy Wayne Hankin’s 38-member roster includes 16 seniors. Simpson won its district with an undefeated 4-0 record. The two losses came on September 24 against Brookhaven Academy, 34-18 and October 8 against Presbyterian Christian, 31-21. In 11 games the Cougars have outscored their opponents 360-135 points.

Rounding off the AA District 3 was Leake with a 3-1 record, Lamar 2-2 and Canton Academy 1-3.

“Our philosophy is we’re going to make this as much like a home game as possible,” Werner said. “We’re going to do everything as close to the same as if we were playing here. We want to get it in our players’ heads that it doesn’t matter where we’re playing, it’s still the same and get out there and play.”

The Cougars won the state championship in 2000 and finished No. 1 in the state. They repeated the state championship in 2005. Last year the Cougars defeated the Green Wave 27-8 in the first round of the playoffs.

“They’re very good and we know that from last year,” Werner said. “From what I understand they’re always pretty good. They have a great tradition down there and have won a couple of state championships.”

One key player for the Cougars is quarterback No. 4 Brandon Johnston, a 6’2”/175lb junior.

“He’s big and physical and runs the ball a lot,” Werner said.

Another Key player for Simpson is running back No. 2 Cade Eiland a 5’9”/175lb junior.

Eiland has been out for two weeks with a knee injury so Werner did not know if he will play or not.

“Their tightend/defensive end #44 Mark Herrin is a very good player also. Herrin is a 6’2”/220lb senior.”

North Delta School will not close school early today but will have a pep rally this morning. The spirit buses will leave at 2 p.m. Kickoff is 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on FM 106.9.

Directions: Take I-55 south to Jackson. Take exit 94 to merge onto US 49 S toward Hattiesburg. Go 34.9 miles and take a left at Mt. Zion Hill Road. The school is at 124 Academy Circle.