Photos by Theresa Bolden Devore
Phillip Parks (5) returns a kickoff Friday night in Batesville versus the Green Wave.
Anthony Mayfield (1) splits the North Delta defense.
Photos by Theresa Bolden Devore
Javion Smith (21) takes the handoff from Ben Shaw (7) and follows his blockers, Zach Sorrell, Thomas Stewart, Mitchell Lafever, Leonard Fields and Jordan Bowen.
Tyler Bolden (4) returns an interception for Marshall Academy. Blocking are Will Hanggi (54) and Mitchell Lafever (50).
Eight in a row
What a difference a year makes.
Last season Marshall Academy suffered heartbreak at North Delta, losing on the last play of the game. This time around in Batesville, the outcome was never in doubt, as the Patriots sank the Green Wave 48-14.
It was MA’s eighth straight win.
“There have been a lot of dramatic, close games over the years between the two schools, which has created the rivalry,” said Barrett Donahoe, head coach of the Patriots.
“This year we went over there focused and played really well overall. We played with passion and pride. It was a good night for us.”
The MA offense was in high gear, racking up 462 total yards. Meanwhile, the Patriot defense stuffed the run. North Delta had just 10 yards rushing in the game, including five tackles for loss
“Offensively, we were much more crisp and sharp,” Donahoe said. “And defensively, we had a solid plan and executed it well.”
The defense made its first stand on the opening series of the game. Javion Smith had an 8-yard sack. Later, the Green Wave decided to go for a first down on fourth and 3 from the MA 49. Jordan Bowen hit the quarterback for a 4-yard loss.
The Marshall offense took the momentum to the end zone, going 47 yards in nine plays. Ben Shaw scored on a 20-yard run with 6:00 left in the opening quarter. Justin McDoniel kicked the extra point.
The Patriots’ next scoring drive traveled 90 yards in only six plays. On second and 12 from their own 8, Shaw threw a bullet to Everette Jones, who caught it at the 29, broke two tackles and ran to the North Delta 28. It was a 64-yard gain. Shaw then ran for 16 before capping the drive on a 1-yard touchdown carry. McDoniel’s kick made it 14-0 with 11:00 to go in the second quarter.
On the second play of North Delta’s next possession, Tyler Bolden intercepted a pass and returned it 32 yards to the North Delta 11.
MA faced a fourth and goal at the 4. Eli Pearson scrambled and found Bolden alone in the end zone for the touchdown. McDoniel added the extra point for a 21-0 advantage.
The Green Wave struck back this time. Cole DeVazier threw short to Kaleb Joyner, who got free along the left sideline and raced 64 yards for six points. Joyner then threw a halfback pass to Harris Cole for the two-pointer. It was 21-8 midway through the first half.
“We were just lazy on that long touchdown,” Donahoe said. “We can’t do that if we are going to be a championship team.”
Tanner Taylor’s 29-yard kick return after North Delta’s score gave MA a first and 10 at its own 46. Cade Crouch reeled in a 19-yard pass from Shaw. Later, on a fourth and 11, Shaw found Crouch again, this time for 17 yards to the Green Wave 19. With 4:57 to go in the second period, Pearson threw to Jones for a 5-yard touchdown. McDoniel was again perfect on the point-after.
“I was pleased with the way the offense responded to put us up 28-8 at the half,” Donahoe said.
The Patriots continued their dominance after the second-half kickoff. They marched 69 yards in eight plays for more points. Shaw got loose for 31 yards into North Delta territory. Later he threw to Bolden for a 13-yard gain. Crouch went in standing from 1 yard out for the touchdown. A try-for-two was not successful. The lead was 34-8.
One possession later, the MA offense kept on clicking. This time it went 79 yards in 11 plays. Shaw ran for a couple of first downs. Later, Pearson threw a short pass to Bolden, who made a spin move and completed a 37-yard scoring play. McDoniel’s kick made it 41-8 late in the third.
The Patriots’ final touchdown of the night was similar. This time, Shaw made the pass to Bolden, who again spun away from a would-be tackler and cashed in the 23-yard play. McDoniel added his sixth extra-point kick to make it 48-8 with 8:33 to go in the game.
North Delta got another big pass play for its other touchdown. DeVazier and Cole connected for the 65-yard score. A try-for-two failed.
MA had 225 yards rushing and 237 passing. Shaw ran 26 times for 129. Smith had eight carries for 50 yards. Shaw was seven of 10 passing for 152 yards. Pearson was six of nine passing for 85 yards.
North Delta was 10 of 16 passing for 183 yards.
The Patriots, who improved to 8-2 overall, will go for the District 1-AA championship this Friday night when they close the regular season by hosting Oak Hill. MA is 3-0 in the district. The Raiders are 7-2 overall after a 14-13 win over West Memphis Christian (Ark.) last week. They’re 2-1 in the district.
“We have a chance to win a district championship on senior night,” Donahoe said. “We need a fantastic week of practice. We have to prepare well for a good Oak Hill football team.”
The state playoffs will begin the following Friday, Oct. 27. With a win over the Raiders this week, MA would likely be a number one or two seed in the 16-team field.
In the state rankings by The Clarion-Ledger, Marshall is ranked fourth in Class AA. St. Joe is first, Centreville second and Manchester third.