Very little was expected of D'Iberville in 2016 as the team adjusted to a new head coach in Eric Collins, but the Warriors have proven to be quick learners.
D'Iberville (4-2, 2-0) thumped rival Ocean Springs 45-22 Friday night to take over first place in Region 4-6A as the lone remaining undefeated team after two weeks of region competition.
The Warriors avenged a humbling 24-0 loss to the Greyhounds in D'Iberville a year ago.
"There's a genuine care and love on this football team I can't explain," Collins said. "That's what's been working for us. When everyone else says we can't, we come out and we've been doing it. I'm proud of them. We were clicking on all cylinders tonight."
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D'Iberville pulled off the big win behind an opportunistic defense and an offense that produced three 100-yard rushers.
Senior fullback Micah Booker ran 21 times for 105 yards and three touchdowns. Junior running back Ja'Quavis Foster had 14 carries for 110 yards and a score. Senior Kahlil McCray added 11 rushes for 102 yards.
The D'Iberville defense forced Ocean Springs into three turnovers, including a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown by D.J. Polk on the first play of the fourth quarter to help put the game out of reach at 38-14 with 11:46 remaining.
"It was just open field," Polk said. "I had to go take one. I feel like I let my team down by giving up big plays. I just had to go make one for them."
Neither team punted during the game, but Ocean Springs had three drives end in turnovers and another ended with a missed field goal.
Ocean Springs (4-2, 1-1) moved the ball well on offense for much of the night, but a fumble at D'Iberville's 22 on the Greyhounds' opening drive proved to be a sign of things to come for the Greyhounds.
D'Iberville eventually turned Ocean Springs' turnover into a 1-yard touchdown run by Booker, who did a good job of gaining yards up the middle all night on the Ocean Springs defense.
Ocean Springs tied the game at 7-7 on a kickoff return for a touchdown by Davontay Keys, his second in as many weeks.
The Warriors pushed their lead to 17-7 on a 27-yard field goal by Brady Groce and an 8-yard touchdown run by Micah Booker with 6:57 left in the first half.
Ocean Springs got back in the game when quarterback Malcolm Magee hit Austin Williams for a 3-yard touchdown with 3 seconds left in the first half to cut the D'Iberville lead to 17-14.
D'Iberville started the second half with 21 unanswered points, culminating in Polk's long interception return for the touchdown.
"We stopped ourselves with turnovers," Ocean Springs coach Ryan Ross said. "D'Iberville, that's a good football team. They execute well offensive and defensively they do a great job of keeping everybody in front of them. They're a physical, good football team. We got beat. There wasn't no bones about it."
Foster, who capped all scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run on D'Iberville's final drive, proved a diverse part of the D'Iberville offense. He had a pair of catches for 37 yards.
"It feels great get a win," Foster said. "We lost to them last year so it was revenge."
Magee completed 11 of 22 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown. He also had eight rushes for 63 yards and a touchdown.