Thursday, September 27, 2007
MA eases by North Delta
By BARRY BURLESON
It took awhile for Marshall Academy to get it in gear Friday night at Batesville. Then it was simply no contest.
The Patriots built a 41-0 lead late in the third quarter and left the campus of North Delta School with an easy 41-20 win. Coach Keith Wicker’s team bounced back from a disappointing performance at Indianola the week before and improved to 4-1 on the season.
“We came out sluggish,” Wicker said. “We wanted to throw the ball more. Then once we got more into the game, we started clicking.”
Wesley Harris got Marshall’s offense on track late in the first quarter. He dashed 20 yards on a reverse for six points. The extra-point kick failed.
It then took the Patriots four plays to go 39 yards midway through the second. Taylor Dempsey ran for a first down, and then on the next play Tyler Childers scored the first of his three touchdowns on the night, this one on a 24-yard run. Brent Adams kicked the extra point for a 13-0 lead.
MA’s defense dominated the first half, limiting the Green Waves to just 40 yards total offense. Justin Gray’s fumble recovery late in the half led to more Patriot points.
Adams ran for one first down, threw to Harris for another and then off the scramble passed to Childers, who made a spin move at the 5 and completed the 23-yard scoring play. Adams’ kick made the lead 20-0 at intermission.
The Marshall offense, which produced 247 yards total offense in the first half, opened the second half with a holding penalty and a 3-yard loss. But then it scored in two big plays. Adams kept for 37 yards and a first down. Then Childers darted 57 yards along the left sideline for six more MA points. The extra-point try was no good.
On the Green Waves’ next possession, Adams intercepted and returned it 34 yards to the North Delta 16. But the Patriots returned the favor, when Adams was picked off in the end zone.
The Marshall defense then produced some points of its own. Gray sacked the quarterback, who fumbled, and Jake Howell scooped up the ball and returned it 10 yards for the touchdown. Adams’ kick made the lead 33-0 with 6:15 to go in the third quarter.
The North Delta offense went three and out on its next series. Harris caught the punt at Marshall’s 44-yard line and weaved his way for 56 yards and the team’s final touchdown of the night. On a mishandled snap, Hunter Bolden picked up the ball and ran for the two-point conversion.
Coach Wicker substituted freely the rest of the way.
North Delta scored touchdowns on runs of 5-, 18- and 16 yards and connected on two of three extra-point tries.
“It was good to get everybody some playing time,” Wicker said. “They’ve been running sprints and working hard in practice, too.”
The MA offense finished with 331 total yards, 241 rushing and 90 passing. Childers ran for 97 yards and Adams 78. Harris had 54 yards receiving.
The Patriot defense held North Delta to just 139 total yards – 96 rushing and 43 passing – much of that coming late in the game when the outcome was already decided.
Landen Fennell and Gray spearheaded the strong defensive effort. Fennell had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery. Gray had nine tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. Bolden had seven tackles. Dempsey had a sack and a fumble recovery and Adams an interception.
It’s homecoming this week as the Patriots host Heritage Academy. Heritage, a bigger school, is 0-5 on the season but has faced a host of strong Class AAA opponents. Heritage lost 40- to Jackson Academy last Friday but trailed only 14-0 at the half.
“They’ve played a tough schedule,” Wicker said. “We have to be ready. They will be chomping to play a AA school.”
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