Thursday, November 3, 2005

Patriots end year with loss to Waves

By BARRY BURLESON
Editor

The Marshall Academy Patriots saw the Dustin Maples show Friday night at North Delta.

The senior for the Green Waves ran for more than 200 yards and scored four touchdowns as his team handed the Patriots a 32-14 loss to end their season.

“He’s one of the better looking backs we’ve seen all year,” said MA head coach Wade Griffin. “We didn’t slow them down much as far as the running game goes, and we didn’t run the ball well.”

North Delta had 330 yards on the ground, to Marshall’s 48.

“I was disappointed,” Griffin said. “I thought the last few weeks we started to show more progress, but Friday we left some of that in Holly Springs.

“I was hoping we could finish better than we showed Friday night.”

Maples got loose in the first quarter for a 49-yard run to the Patriot 29. Later he scored his first touchdown of the night from four yards out. The extra point made it 7-0 at the 6:35 mark.

Early in the second quarter, Maples darted 65 yards to the end zone, and the point-after try failed.

Marshall drove to the Green Waves’ 26-yard line on its next possession, thanks in large part to a pass from Will Forester to Tyler Sanders.

But then disaster struck. North Delta’s Nick Douglas picked off a pass and returned it 80 yards for a score. The try-for-two was not successful, and the home team was up 19-0 with 6:08 to go in the second period.

That score held until the half.

MA got a break early in the third quarter when Blake Work hit a North Delta ball-carrier and forced a fumble. Teammate Thomas Rodgers recovered at the Green Waves’ 48.

The drive stalled when Marshall failed to get a first down on a fourth and two play.

North Delta struck quickly. Maples plunged into the end zone from one yard out to wrap up a 60-yard drive at the 2:31 mark of the third. The extra-point kick missed the mark. It was 25-0.

Maples wrapped up his running and scoring show early with 10:52 left in the fourth. He finished a short, 39-yard North Delta drive, that started with an interception, by traveling four yards for the touchdown. The extra point kick was good.

The Patriots didn’t quit. They put two late scores on the board.

Justin Gray threw to Rodgers for 29 yards and a first down to the North Delta 8. Blake Work then ran for the six points. A try-for-two failed. It was 32-6 with 6:32 left.

On its next possession, Marshall scored on a 77-yard touchdown toss over the middle from Gray to Forester. Gray then threw to Rodgers for the two-point conversion with just 32 seconds to go.

For the game, Forester was six of 11 passing and Gray four of seven. Rodgers caught six for 84 yards.

Work was the defensive leader with 11 tackles. Sanders had 10, while Rodgers and Brent Adams had nine each. Joe Cunningham followed with eight tackles.

Recovering fumbles were Rodgers, Cunningham and Wesley Harris. Adams had an interception.

The Patriots finish 2-9. North Delta improved to 8-3.

Griffin complimented his team because of “several areas of adversity” it faced during the season. The Patriots were low in number.

“We went with what we had available,” he said. “I like this bunch. I enjoy being around these boys.”

He praised the seniors – Rodgers, Work, Forester, Cunningham, Buddy Farris, Mark Williams, Cole Covington and Jarvis Holloway – for their hard work and leadership.

“I really appreciate them,” Griffin said.

He said his Patriots must get bigger and stronger.

“Speed-wise, I think we came up a notch this year,” Griffin said. “We’ve got to get stronger – win up front. I want Marshall Academy to be able to run the football and bag on people.”


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