BY MARK BEASON
BOONEVILLE – There weren't three rings at Keenum Stadium Thursday, but it still looked like the circus was in town.
In an odd game, Mississippi Delta beat Northeast 28-18 in a state community college North Division contest.
The game featured a pair of safeties, a slew of penalties and several unusual plays. Delta (5-2, 3-1 North Division) was able to survive the game, picking up a key division win. The Trojans' only division loss was against Northwest, while beating Northeast, East Mississippi and Holmes. Delta hosts Itawamba next Thursday, with Northeast (3-4, 1-3) playing at Holmes.
It was close until midway in the fourth when Delta broke the game open. Northeast had plenty of chances, getting inside the Trojans' 5-yard line three times but only getting one touchdown.
“It was just a weird game,” Northeast coach Andy Greening said. “But when it comes down to it, we just didn't get it done.”
Northeast's first trip deep in Delta territory, the Tigers got down to the 2-yard line. On fourth-and-goal, quarterback Matthew Stevenson was stopped a yard short.
In the third quarter, Northeast was down 14-9 when it got to the 1-yard line. Delta's defense responded again, stopping running back Lonnie Collier short of the end zone.
“At the time it seemed like the right call to go for it,” Greening said. “For whatever reason, we just couldn't punch it in. We can't complain, we had our chances.”
Delta is coached by former Itawamba coach Jay Miller. Even though his squad was able to get a tough win on the road, he said it was a struggle from the start.
“Andy (Greening) and his staff do a great job,” Miller said. “They took our strength away from us, and we were fortunate enough that we have some balance and made a few plays. We made a million mistakes, but a big part of that was because of Northeast. They've got a good football team.”
Delta went up 7-0 in the first on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Casey Clark to Torrance Hoyle and a Todd McGee extra point.
Northeast's special teams accounted for four points, getting two safeties. The first came when the Tigers tackled the Trojans' punter in the end zone.
Clark and Hoyle hooked up again in the second quarter, with Hoyle scoring a 45-yard touchdown pass. Delta led 14-2 at the half.
Northeast got its first offensive points early in the third, with Matthew Stevenson throwing a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chris Brawley. Zach Bost's extra point got the Tigers within five, 14-9.
A Delta miscue resulted in the second safety, when the ball was snapped over McGee's head and out of the end zone.
Leading 14-11, the Trojans put the game away with a pair of touchdowns. Clark threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Brown, and a 4-yard run by Ebony Johnson in the fourth sealed the win.
Northeast scored a late touchdown on a 10-yard pass to Josh Crump.