Thursday, August 31, 2006
Patriots burn Devils; nemesis N. Delta next
By BARRY BURLESON
There were lots of things to like about Marshall Academy’s first football game of the season. But first and foremost, in a 40-7 win over Tunica Institute of Learning, head coach Wade Griffin liked his team’s toughness.
“I was tickled to death Friday night because we hit,” Griffin said. “They (Tunica) had minus nine yards the first half, and that’s because we were in the backfield so much. We did not get knocked off the ball.”
Tunica failed to get a first down until the 2:05 mark of the second quarter.
Meanwhile, the Patriot offense was clicking. Marshall produced 337 yards of offense in the victory, 203 of that in the first half.
“The whole premise of our offense is having backs who can run from tackle to tackle,” Griffin said. “We’re going to bang at you, and we have some kids up front this year who can get attention. We did some good things on offense.”
MA wasted no time in taking the lead at Sartin Field in Tunica. Tyler Sanders returned the opening kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown. His extra-point kick was no good.
The Patriots’ Justin Gray then recovered an unplanned onside kick, and the visitors were back in business again. Taylor Dempsey, who had 14 carries on the night for 106 yards, ran for one first down, and Sanders, who had eight carries for 47 yards, ran for another. But the drive ended on a fumble.
Marshall’s next points came late in the first quarter. Quarterback Brent Adams kept the ball and dashed 50 yards to the end zone. He also ran for the two-point conversion and a 14-0 lead.
The Patriot defense continued to throw the Blue Devils for losses, including a 12-yard setback on the next series. Leading the defensive effort on the night were Landen Fennell with nine tackles, Jake Paylor with eight tackles and two sacks and Jonathan Allen with eight tackles.
MA padded its lead midway through the second quarter. Adams hooked up with Wesley Harris for a 12-yard touchdown pass. The extra-point attempt was unsuccessful. The Patriots were up 20-0 at the break.
Early in the second half the Adams to Harris connection struck again, this time for 66 yards and six points. Harris, after making the catch, outran two Blue Devils to the end zone. Adams threw to Hunter Bolden for the two-point conversion.
Adams was four of five through the air Friday night for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Harris caught three of those passes for 94 yards and the two scores.
Tunica’s high snap from punt formation led to the Patriots’ next score. MA started the short drive at the TIL 20, and two plays later Sanders ran over a Blue Devil and crossed the goal line from 14 yards out., The point-after try was no good. Marshall led 34-0 with 9:14 to go in the fourth period.
A second high snap from punt formation in the fourth quarter cost the home team. This time Marshall’s Cory Simpson picked up the loose ball and carried it 15 yards for a touchdown. The extra-point kicked hit the goalpost and was no good.
Tunica avoided the shutout when quarterback Clay Harrison scored on a 2-yard run with 14 seconds to go in the game. The point-after kick was good.
“We won up front Friday night, and that’s what I liked,” said Griffin, continuing to complement the work of his linemen on both sides of the ball.
This week Marshall hosts longtime nemesis North Delta in a non-district contest. The Green Wave lost 47-14 to Class AAA Magnolia Heights last Friday night.
“We hit Tunica, but North Delta has beaten Marshall it seems like forever,” Griffin said. “Let’s see if we will hit North Delta. The competition will get better. We have to challenge our guys this week.”
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