ND vs Marshall game

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 2, 2012

North Delta senior quarterback Tyler Pirtle (right) returned to action after four weeks against Marshall Academy Friday night. Pirtle led the Green Wave to a 35-27 district win to take over sole possession of first place in 1-AA. The Panolian photo by Glennie Pou

North Delta wins battle with Marshall for district leader

By Brad Greer

Add another chapter into the list of classic gridiron battles between North Delta and Marshall Academy.

 In a game chalked full of big plays, high intensity and a few eyebrow raising calls by officials, North Delta outslugged the No. 4 ranked Patriots 35-27 Friday night in Holly Springs to extend their 13-game District 1-AA winning streak.

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Austin Hagstrom and Tyler Pirtle ran for two touchdowns each while fellow senior Taylor Morris added another as North Delta (5-2; 2-0) captured their third straight victory over the Patriots who also fell to 2-1 in league play and 5-2 overall.

 “First of all I want to give credit to Marshall, they have got a fine ball team. We knew coming in this was going to be a war and that what it turned out to be,” said North Delta head coach Brandon Ciaramitaro. ”I saw something in my guys tonight that I have been waiting to see all season and that was to play a full game with less penalties and to dig deep inside themselves and show some leadership while finishing the game the way did,” said Ciaramitaro.

North Delta came out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter to jump out to a 20-7 lead as one the second play from scrimmage, Hagstrom took the direct snap from center and raced 86 yards for the score to give the visitors a quick 6-0 lead after William Dean’s PAT failed.

Marshall answered on their opening possession as Devin McGreger scored on a five-yard run to cap off an eight-play, 45-yard drive to make the score 7-6 with McGreger adding the point after attempt.

The Green Wave retained the lead on the following series as Hagstrom added his second scoring run from three yards out at the 3:40 mark to the first quarter. Chase Coker hauled in the two-point conversion from Pirtle to give the visitors a 14-7 lead.

North Delta extended the lead to 20-7  as Morris crashed in from three yards out on the last play of the quarter. Hagstrom’s 26-yard punt return to the Patriot 26-yard line got the drive started.

The roles were reversed in the second quarter as Marshall defense held North Delta to five yards of total offense. Patriot fullback Zack Pritchett bulldozed his way in from one yard out at with 5:48 remaining before halftime to close the margin to 20-14 at intermission. The drive covered 63 yards on 13 plays and chewed up over six minutes off the clock.

Marshall got their fans on THEIR feet to open the second half of play as the Patriots took the opening kickoff and march 78 yards on four plays to take a 21-20 lead as Pritchett scored on 10-yard run followed by McGreger’s PAT.

The drive was highlighted by an amazing 70-yard scramble by fleet-footed quarterback Dakota Dailey in which the sophomore somehow escaped five would-be North Delta defenders before being hauled down at the Green Wave 10-yard line.

Dailey finished the game with 246 all-purpose yards which included 141 yards rushing and 105 yards through the air on 12-of-18 passing and one interception.

“I can’t say enough about how Dakota played tonight, he is a great competitor and left everything he had on the field.This was a great game just like it aways is when we play North Delta,“ said Marshall head coach Bart Jenkins. ”They have a great program and we knew what kind of contest it would be. Both teams played extremely hard and for three years in a row it has came down to one big break and they seem to get it and we don’t. but that is how it goes and we will bounce back,” said Jenkins.

The score remained that way until ten minutes left in the game as the Green Wave retook the lead at 28-21 on Pirtle’s eight-yard scramble with Hagstrom running in the two-point conversion. Pirtle’s 46-yard pass completion to Hagstrom kept the drive alive.

Marshall was not through yet as Pritchett added his final touchdown run of seven yards to close the margin to 28-27 with 5:55 left to play.With fans from both sides on their feet, the Patriots decided to go for the two point converson instead of the point after that would have tied the game.

The move backfired as Daily’s pass was batted down by Green Wave safety Brett Harrington to retain the North Delta lead at one point.

“We got some guys banged up and I just didn’t feel like going into overtime would play to our advantage, but hindsight is 20/20  and that was a high percentage play for us that we just did not make,” said Jenkins.

North Delta iced the game on the ensuing kickoff as Harrington scooped up a fumble on the Patriot 44 yard line. Pirtle added the final points with a 27-yard touchdown run with 1:01 left in the game.

After receiving the kickoff, Marshall’s last gasp came to an end as Dean picked off a Dailey pass at the North Delta 38.

The Green Wave finished the night with 348 yards of total offense compared to Marshall’s 302. Hagstrom led North Delta in rushing with 116 yards on 13 carries while catching four passes for 58 yards. Pirtle followed with 91 yards on 20 carries. Morris chipped in with 58 yards on nine totes and one reception for three yards.

Sam Copeland, Coker and Dean all registered one pass reception for the Green Wave. Will Magee, Morris and Hunter Pitcher led the North Delta defense with four tackles each. Bradley Booth and Parker Jones added three stops. Aaron McAlexander reeled in eight catches for 95 yards to lead Marshall in receiving.

North Delta will stay on the road Friday night as they take on Lee, Ark. while Marshall hosts MSHAA member H. W. Byers.