North Delta takes control with win
By Brad Greer
For most part of the season. North Delta head coach Dan Werner has not been worried about his offense lighting up the scoreboard, but has had concerns whether or not the Green Wave defense can stop their opponents. Those worries were for the most part put to rest Friday night as the Wave defense came up with a critical stop on fourth down late in the game as North Delta came away with a 44-32 victory over Marshall in a key District 1-AA matchup.
With the victory, North Delta (6-1; 2-0) takes over sole possession in the district standings while the Patriots, (6-1;2-1) fell into second place.
Taylor Morris rushed for 205 yards and three touchdowns as the Green Wave scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to break open a 28-26 lead. Quarterback Tyler Pirtle threw for 150 yards while rushing for 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Pirtle's 88-yard bomb to his brother Colby Pirtle on 2nd and 25 from the Green Wave 12 gave North Delta a 36-26 advantage with 8:31 remaining in the game.
After a Luke Latham interception, Morris tacked on the final score with a one-yard run then added the two-point conversion for a 44-26 lead.
Marshall added their last score on a six-yard pass from Kevin Fitzpatrick to Aaron McAlexander with 56 seconds remaining in the game.
"We made two huge defensive plays there in the fourth quarter when we were up by ten points. After that not only did we run some time off the clock we scored on a big pass play," said Werner.
North Delta jumped out to a 6-0 lead on Tyler Pirtle's 37-yard scoring run with 4:50 left in the first quarter. The Patriots answered with a three-play, 54-yard drive that ended with a 27-yard scoring run by Fitzpatrick. McAlexander caught the two-point conversion pass from Fitzpatrick to give the visitors a 8-6 lead.
North Delta retook the lead at 14-8 early in the second quarter on Pirtle's three-yard run and two-point conversion. Colby Pirtle's 22-yard reception on 4th & 14 from the Patriot 25 key the drive.
Marshall knotted the game a 14-14 with less than a minute to play before halftime as Fitzpatrick connected with McAlexander again with a 14-yard pass.
A bizarre play occurred on North Delta's last possession of the half as Morris appeared to be tackled at midfield after a 21-yard gain, but stayed on his feet and raced into the endzone for a 71-yard touchdown run to give the Green Wave at 20-14 halftime lead. "I do not know what happened. I thought he (Morris) was down, but he must have rolled onto another player and got back up. I thought he was down and I look up and he is in the endzone," said Werner.
Marshall took the second half kickoff and marched 58 yards on nine plays as Chase Farrell scored from seven yards out to tie the game a 20-20.
North Delta took the lead for good on the following play from scrimmage as Morris took a pitchout and raced 58 yards for his second touchdown of the game. Pirtle added the two-point conversion to make the score 28-20 with 6:25 left in the third quarter.
The Patriots closed the gap to 28-26 on Ferrell's two-yard run at the 3:11 mark of the third.
"We have not been playing up to our potential on defense these last few games so we had to step it up tonight, "said sophomore linebacker Parker Jones. "We came out with a chip on our shoulder because our offense can not winevery game so we had to start making plays on defense," said Jones.
North Delta finished with 463 total yards of offense including 313 on the ground. Marshall meanwhile tallied up 377 yards of offense.
Fitzpatrick led the Patriots with 17-of-23 passing for 249 yards.
North Delta hosts Lee,(Ark.) Friday.