Green Wave falters in second half 8/26/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Green Wave falters in second half

By Brad Greer

For almost one half, the North Delta School went toe-to-toe with Pillow Academy Friday night in muggy Greenwood. But in the second half the Green Wave found out it was tough to keep the pony in the stall.

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Led by 138 yards and two touchdowns runs from Bay Bennett, the Mustangs converted a pair of third-quarter turnovers into a pair of scores that broke open a 21-7 lead at halftime into a 42-14 victory in the season opener for both schools.

Green Wave head coach Brandon Ciaramitaro said his team remained upbeat despite the setback.

“I just went into that lockerroom and heard my captains and seniors saying nothing but positive things while  encouraging and lifting up their teammates and that is everything we are coaching those guys to do. We came out wide-eyed and we knew it was going to be tough at the beginning because some of these guys have never taken a snap of high school football before,” said Ciaramitaro.

“We dug a little bit of a hole in the first half mainly because of our inexperience and came out in the second half where things just did not go our way. They got the best of us but I did like the fight we showed in the fourth quarter. I saw a lot of good things out of some guys who could have hung their heads if they wanted to, but they didn’t. These guys are continuing to do what we ask them to do, but we keep telling them this is a ongoing process and it was not going to be easy. We all know nothing worth having in life is easy. We will get better every week,” said Ciaramitaro.

After exchanging punts to begin the contest, Bennett got the Mustangs on the board with a 47-yard gallop at the 8:27 mark before Steve Pannell connected on the point after. Two possessions later, quarterback Cooper Dunn snuck in from one yard out three plays into the second quarter that capped off a nine-play; 47-yard drive with 10:50 remaining in the second half for a 14-0 ‘Stang lead.

North Delta caught a break midway through the quarter as Joseph Wright pounced on a muffed Pillow punt at the Mustang 37 yard-line which led to a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Hays Hudson to Hunter Baker with Hudson Parnell adding the PAT. The drive was aided by an 11-yard scamper by Hudson on a third-and nine from the Pillow 16.

The Mustangs quickly answered by marching 66 yards on 10 plays with  Dunn tossing a 10-yard strike to Dillon Ussery. Pannell drilled the point to extend its lead to 21-7 with 1:28 remaining before intermission. 

Pillow blew the game open as the third quarter got underway on a Bennett 50-yard jaunt for a 28-7 lead. Then on North Delta’s third play from scrimmage after the kickoff, Will Jennings stripped the ball and galloped 45 yards for the score.

John Madison Brooks closed out the Pillow scoring on a one-yard run with 3:32 left in the quarter. The drive covered 20 yards on two plays after a Bennett fumble recovery.

North Delta added its final score midway through the fourth quarter as sophomore signal-caller Will Kidder orchestrated an eight-play; 80-yard march before cashing in from one-yard out as Parnell tacked on the point after.

Kidder ended the game six-of-nine passing for 120 yards which included a 56-yard completion to Michael Prine that set up the final score. Hudson chipped in with three-of-eight passing for eight yards.

Hudson was North Delta’s leading rusher on the night with 14 carries for 37 yards and also contributed to the defense with five solo tackles. Wright added two carries for 12 yards while Kidder had 11 yards on seven totes. Bailey Sullivant followed with six rushes for six yards and Baker West supplied one yard on one carry.

Prine led the Green Wave receiving corps with two catches for 63 yards. Macen Magee hauled in three catches for 32 yards. Ethan Calvert added one reception for 17 yards while Baker, Sullivant and Bailey Ross each had one catch.

Pillow rolled up 367 yards of total offense with 235 coming via the ground game. The Mustangs completed seven-of-12, passed for 132 yards while moving the first down marker 14 times. 

North Delta ended the night with 128 yards through the air and 66 yards rushing for 194 yards of offense and 11 first downs. Pillow was penalized seven times for 53 yards compared to the Green Wave’s six times for 40 yards.

Sullivant led the Green Wave with six tackles. Lake Dubois garnered three solo stops and one assist defensively. Tripp Savage and Calvert followed with three solo tackles. Baker added three assists with Wilson Morrow providing one solo and two assists. Jonathan Wilks contributed with two tackles and a fumble recovery. 

North Delta hopes to regroup Friday as they host Magnolia Heights Friday at 7 p.m. The Chiefs were victorious in its season opener with a 38-14 victory over Northpoint Christian.