Thursday, October 1, 2009
Defense, two kicks lift MA to win
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy put extra emphasis on defense in preparation for North Delta. It paid off.
The Patriots limited the Green Wave to just 65 total yards and five first downs in a huge 6-0 district win Friday night at home.
“I expected us to step up defensively because we worked so hard on it all week,” coach Keith Wicker said. “The whole defense played great. I’m still smiling.
“I’ve said all along this group of kids is going to play hard and we had to play hard Friday night. North Delta is a physical football team.”
The Green Wave turned in a strong defensive effort of its own. MA mustered just 100 yards offense and eight first downs.
The right leg of Marshall kicker Chase Carpenter was the difference. He nailed 33- and 30-yard field goals on a muddy field for the game’s only points.
“He hit them in the worst conditions you could imagine,” Wicker said. “He’s a good little kicker and he won the game for us.
“It was so sloppy (due to all the rain) and it limited what we could do on offense, and I guess it limited them, too.”
There were 14 punts in the game. MA’s Carpenter punted six times for 216 yards, an average of 36 yards per punt. North Delta punted eight times for 282 yards - an average of 35 yards.
The Green Wave lived on the Patriots’ end of the field in the first half. They recovered a fumble at the MA 25 in the early going. But North Delta mustered just 5 yards on four downs with Marshall’s Drew Rappa making the big hit on fourth and six.
Another Patriot turnover put the Green Wave in business at the home team’s 47. Running back Tres Brasell did most of the work as North Delta moved to the MA 2. A holding call pushed the Green Wave backwards and then on fourth and goal from the 12, they completed a screen pass but Marshall’s Josh Vanderburg made the touchdown-saving tackle on Chris Reeves at the 4.
The two teams then swapped punts until midway through the second quarter. That’s when MA got its first break. Green Wave punter Carson Bailey couldn’t get a handle on the snap and the Patriots took over at the North Delta 46.
Tyler Childers ran for a first down and then the district opponents swapped penalties. Marshall got as far as the 17 and faced a fourth and one. Coach Wicker called on Carpenter, who split the uprights from 33 yards away for a 3-0 advantage at the 4:52 mark of the second period.
The MA defensive players continued to flex their muscles prior to intermission, forcing two more Green Wave punts. Vanderburg had a tackle for loss on North Delta’s last possession of the half.
The second half followed much the same story line. The Green Wave earned one first down to start the third quarter before being forced to punt.
Then MA took over at its own 36 and drove more more points. Hank Owens threw to Elgin Lafever for 9 yards and a first down and then tossed to John Tomlinson for 20 yards and another first on a third and six play. The Patriots moved as far as the 6 on a couple of runs by Childers but a sack and an incomplete pass forced another field-goal try. Carpenter hit the three-pointer from 30 yards out with 3:02 to go in the third.
Marshall mounted one more scoring threat in the second half on runs from Childers, Tomlinson and Owens. The Pats reached the Green Wave 8 but a penalty and interception ended the drive.
On North Delta’s other second-half possessions, tackles for loss by MA were common, starting with a 6-yard setback courtesy of Will Patton and Trey Lindsey. Then it was Vanderburg‘s turn again, followed by a couple of quarterback sacks - the first from Casey Shaw and Lindsey and the next from Jake Delashmit.
The Green Wave had one last desperation try to score, taking over at its own 28 with 1:15 to go. Three passes fell incomplete, then on fourth and 10, Neil Murphy sacked quarterback Derek Shawn to secure the win.
“We blitzed off the edges a lot,” Wicker said, “and played a lot of man coverage. It was a tremdous defensive effort.”
The Patriots improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the district. The Green Wave fell to 3-2 and 1-1.
“It was big - starting the district race win a win,” he said.
Next up is non-district foe Tunica Academy (5-1) this Friday on the road. That will be followed by two road games against district foes - October 9 at Kirk and October 16 at Indianola.
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