Green Wave flounders against Chiefs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

North Delta’s J. T. Stennett (right) tries to take down Magnolia Heights’ Eli Wilson in Friday night’s 34-20 loss. The Green Wave will be back on the road Friday to Strayhorn at 7 p.m. The Panolian photo by Andy Young

Green Wave flounders against Chiefs

By Will Dickins
North Delta fell short to rival Magnolia Heights by the score of 34-20 Friday night.  The Green Wave mounted a comeback after falling behind by three touchdowns, but it was not enough as the Chiefs eventually put them away.  
The game started off bad for the Wave. Magnolia Heights scored unanswered on their first three drives. That brought the score to 22-0.
Instead of giving up, North Delta had a goal in mind. They were going to come back, and it started with a 46-yard pass on a screen play from Will Kidder to Tyler Holland for a touchdown. This not only sparked the offense. The energy also reached the defense who did not give up another touchdown in the half.  
Coach Brandon Ciaramitaro said that this was the turning point in the half.
“We got the quick touchdown to be down two scores.That gave us some fire there. At the end of the day it is about guys not giving up. When you get down three scores, some guys want to throw in the towel. They had faith in the system. The goal was now to try to score and get back into the game. That play gave us a spark and then the defense started to step up.”
On the very next Green Wave drive, it took one play to find pay dirt. Kidder found John Haga Lewis wide open on the sidelines and Haga took care of the rest. He caught it at around the 30, made one defender fall on his back after Lewis acted like he was going to cut back to midfield but did not, then sprinted to the end zone to cut the lead to nine.  
The move was reminiscent of Trent Richardson versus Ole Miss in 2011. If that did not get the crowd fired up, there is not much more out there that would do the job. The half came to a close with Magnolia Heights leading 22-13.  
On the third play of the opening drive, Kidder hit Kaleb Joyner on a wheel route that resulted in a 69-yard touchdown pass.  The score was now 22-20 Magnolia Heights. The comeback was complete.
It was now down to one score and a chance to win the game.  That is the normal goal, but a lofty one after being down three scores.  The celebration did not last long.  Eli Wilson ran a pitch play 65 yards for a score.  Wilson gave North Delta fits all night.  The Chiefs could go up by two scores again with an extra point on a low snap. The ball rolls to the holder, and the Green Wave front punishes him for it.  The game was still in reach.  
Neither team could find the end zone for the rest of the quarter.  Both defenses stepped up including Chris Williamson and Jones Montgomery for the Green Wave.  
The fourth quarter was a battle. With the score at 28-22, Magnolia Heights was driving.  
A big pass play then a few runs would get them to a first down on the Green Wave three yard line.
Three runs up the middle were stuffed. They try a quarterback sneak on fourth down. Bang! The Chief offensive line is pushed backwards by a “Green” tidal wave, and the quarterback was dropped in the backfield for a big goal line stand.     
The finish that you would only read about in a fictional novel was set.  All North Delta had to do was score.  The next drive was a three and out.
Magnolia Heights got the ball back with another chance to put the game away. On a third and 14, at the North Delta 18, Wilson pierced the hearts of the Green Wave faithful with another touchdown.  The run went right and was cut off, but Wilson cut back to the other side of the field for a long 18-yard scramble.  It was another fluky score.
We can call it “growing pains” as Coach Ciaramitaro said.
“We improved from last week. We had fewer mistakes. We left it all out there.  Getting in our groove too late was ultimately the big deal. If we click in the beginning and make stops, then it is right there. We can’t wait until the second quarter to start clicking.”
Growing pains hurt, but the good news for North Delta is that it was only the second game of a young season. Week to week improvement was evident. 

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