Trailing 18-14 at halftime, the Chiefs unleashed a powerful ground game to reel off 18 unanswered points to run past the Green Wave 32-18 Friday night in the season-opener for both schools. Senior Ben Billingsley bulldozed his way to 108 rushing yards while quarterback Mac McDonald rushed 17 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns to help guide the Chiefs to 248 yards on the ground.
Magnolia Heights took the lead for good by marching on a six-play, 61-yard drive to their first possession of the second half. Facing a 2nd-and 1 from the North Delta 41, McDonald hooked up with six-foot-three inch, 230-pound wide receiver Taz Zettegren for a 41-yard touchdown strike with 8:49 remaining in the third quarter to give the Chiefs a 20-18 lead.
After North Delta went three-and-out on the following drive, McDonald, who battled leg cramps for most of the second half, scampered 18 yards into the end-zone on a 4th-and-15 play from the Green Wave 18 at the 2:51 mark of the third period that made the score 26-18 after North Delta's Corbin Baker blocked the point after conversion attempt.
The Chiefs added a four-yard touchdown run by Zettegren with 39 seconds left in the contest to round out the final margin of victory. Zettegren finished the night with 207 all-purpose yards which included seven rushes for 51 yards to go along with six receptions for 99 yards and two scores.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Magnolia Heights jumped out to a 7-0 lead at 9:58 to go before halftime when McDonald found Zettegren all alone in the back corner of the end-zone for a 13-yard touchdown pass followed by Payton Smith's successful PAT.
North Delta would strike back quickly however as on the next series quarterback Bryan "B" Nickle juked four would-be Chief defenders then darted 58 yards for the score. John Cody Dalrymple's point after failed, leaving the score 7-6 with 8:17 remaining before intermission. The fleet-footed Nickle paced the Green Wave offense with 114 yards rushing on 14 carries.
The Green Wave took their first lead of the game on the next series as senior linebacker Micheal Magee got the home crowd on their feet by picking off a McDonald pass at the Chief 40 and returning it 30 yards to the Magnolia Heights 10-yard line. Then on the first play from scrimmage, Dalrymple took a pitchout from Nickle and dove into the end-zone to give North Delta a 12-7 lead after the two-point conversion failed.
Magnolia Heights then re-took the lead at 14-12 on a one-yard quarterback sneak by McDonald that capped off a eight-play 53-yard drive by the Chiefs with Smith added the PAT.
North Delta regained the lead however just before halftime as Magee hauled in a short pass from Nickle then busted loose from two tackles and raced 67 yards for the score. Tres Brasell was then stopped at the goal line on the two-point try, leaving the score 18-14 with 1:40 remaining before halftime.
North Delta rolled up 240 yards of offense on the night with including 164 rushing. Dalrymple followed Nickle in rushing with 25 yards on four carries while Brasell added 13 yards on four carries. Magee chipped in with 12 yards on three totes. Nickle finished the night two-of-11 passing for 76 yards and a touchdown. Baker caught one pass for nine yards while Magee had one reception for 67 yards.
Derrick Shawn led the Green Wave defense with nine tackles while Magee followed with six. Carson Bailey and Dalrymple added five stops each. Will Dunlap and Baker chipped in with four tackles while Will Reynolds registered a quarterback sack.
North Delta will host Tunica Academy Friday night at 7:30. Tunica had their game with Greenville Christian suspended Friday in the second quarter due to lighting problems. The contest will be resumed on Oct.8th.