Cade Ganey’s 20 yard field goal with eight seconds left to play led Biloxi past D’Iberville 26-23 in the Region 4-6A opener Friday night at Indian Stadium.
The kick gave Biloxi its only lead of the night. D’Iberville used all three of its timeouts to ice him. The Indians sealed the win when Jaden Walley’s desperation heave found the ground as the clock died.
“There was a lot of pressure,” Ganey said. “But I stayed calm and thought about getting the ball through the uprights.”
The Warriors’ timeouts didn’t affect Ganey.
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“It just gave me more time to focus on putting the ball through the uprights,” he said.
The win breaks a four-game losing streak by the Indians (0-4, 1-0) to start the season. Meanwhile, the Warriors misery continues as they have now lost four games after winning their season opener against Tylertown. The last three D’Iberville losses have come by a total of 17 points.
“It’s a big win,” said Biloxi coach Bobby Hall. “We have been in every game, but didn’t make the plays in the fourth quarter to win. Tonight I thought we made the plays in the fourth quarter to win.”
D’Iberville coach Eric Collins didn’t make any excuses.
“It’s frustrating for the coaches, the players, and the fans,” Collins said. “But, we can still make all of our goals. We can still win the district. We can still make the playoffs.”
D’Iberville opened on fire as Jordan Hartley took ran for 55 yards on the Warriors first play from scrimmage. A short punt on Biloxi’s second series gave D’Iberville the ball at the Indians 48.
Two plays after a 13-yard completion to Hartley, Michael Kozlowski found Layton Businelle all alone behind the Indians secondary for an easy touchdown. D’Iberville missed the extra point, but led 13-0 just over seven minutes into the game.
“My players don’t quit,” Hall said. “They’ll fight throughout the game.”
With the aid of D’Iberville defensive penalties, which gave the Indians three first downs on the drive, Biloxi got on the scoreboard with a 32-yard Ganey field goal 20 seconds into the second quarter. Brady Groce would kick a three-pointer of his own to increase the Warriors lead to 16-3.
Behind quarterback Kamron Suddeth , the Indians cut the Warriors lead to seven late in the second quarter. Suddeth ran for 28 yards on the drive and hit Shi Gaskin on a 34-yard pass play to set up Kenyatta Harrell’s 2 yard plunge with one minute left in the initial half to cut the Warriors lead to 16-9.
In the third quarter, a Suddeth 41 yard pass to Decorius Murry set up Harrell’s second score of the game, this time on an 8 yard carry as Biloxi tied the Warriors at 16 each four-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter.
D’Iberville went back up 23-16 on a 1-yard Kozlowski quarterback sneak. But, the Indians struck back quickly with Suddeth hitting fellow sophomore Jervin Smith on a 71 yard pitch and run.
The game remained knotted at 23 each until Biloxi took its final drive from their 27 to the Indians 3. Smith again played a key role, taking and end-around 29 yards to the Warriors 24. Harrell did the rest, carrying the ball inside the Warriors’ 5 before Ganey made the winning kick.
Suddeth finished the game 14-of-25 for 256 yards. He was never worried after the Warriors built their large lead.
“We struggled early in the game and made a few mistakes,” he said. “But I knew that we could come back.”
Smith led the Warriors in receptions with six catches for 101 yards. Donte Starks had a dozen stops to lead the Biloxi defense.
Hartley finished with 14 carries for 103 yards. Ja’Quavis Foster added 86 yards on 16 carries. However, Collins said the key the game was penalties as the Warriors were flagged 17 times for 126 yards. Two of the flags were false starts as D’Iberville was preparing to go for a first down on fourth-and-one.
“You are not going to win too many games with 126 yards in penalties,” he said. “That’s on us (coaches). We have to do a better job coaching.”