ND football

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 30, 2011

Big test on tap for ND against Marshall tonight

By Brad Greer

Most coaches, either at the high school, college and pro level, almost  always tell   players never to look ahead to their next opponent. But for Marshall and North Delta that has been hard to do.

For weeks and several months, fans of both teams have circled on the calender when the two district foes would collide.

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The wait is finally over as the Green Wave and Patriots square off in what could decide the District 1-AA championship tonight at Green Wave Field for a 7:30 kickoff.

“One of our goals is to win a district championship, but to do that our kids know you have to go though North Delta. This is a huge challenge for the kids, but it is something they are looking forward to,” said Marshall head coach Barrett Donahoe.

“Our kids understand to be the best you have to beat the best and right now Coach Werner has got them playing at high level the last two seasons and this is a big as it gets and games like this make it enjoyable to coach,” said Donahoe.

Marshall heads into tonight’s game sporting a 6-0 overall record and 2-0 in district play as well as a No. 5 ranking in the latest Academy AA poll. The Patriots’ victories this season have come against Magnolia Heights (36-13), Tunica (35-28), Immanuel Christian (49-12), Clarksdale Lee (29-22) plus district wins over Carroll (40-10) and Indianola (20-12) last week.

Marshall is led by senior quarterback Kevin Fitzpatrick (6’0”- 175) and running back/ linebacker Chase Farrell (5’10”- 165) along with junior wide receiver Aaron McAlexander (6’0”- 170).

North Delta head coach Dan Werner expects a battle until the end just as was the case last season as the Green Wave took a 26-10 victory at home.

“This has been the game of the year in our district for the past three seasons. I am sure they have principled it in and so have we,” said Werner.

One of the keys to a victory Werner said will be containing Fitzpatrick.

“When you go up against a quarterback that can run, you have to find ways to stop him. But when the guy can run and throw the ball, that makes it even tougher. He makes their offense go, but they have other weapons also such as No. 5 (Farrell) and they can throw the ball to No. 10 (McAlexander) and that is why they are undefeated,“ said Werner.

North Delta will look for running back Taylor Morris to have another big game as the junior had in last week’s 44-27 win over Tunica. Morris ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Tyler Pirtle registered 121 yards and three touchdowns and 162 in the air.

Pirtle has accounted for 955 all-purpose yards though six games which includes 27-of-50 for 502 yards and five touchdowns to go along with 71 carries for 453 yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

Morris leads the team in rushing with 849 yards and 13 touchdowns while fullback Parker Jones is third on the squad behind Pirtle with 164 yards, 31 carries and one touchdown.