D'Iberville's first-ever state football championship banner hangs proudly at Warrior Stadium.
The Warriors' touted senior class of wide receiver Kevin Norwood, running back Mark Seymour, offensive lineman Zach Rushing and linebacker Jacoby Bell plan on adding a second championship banner to place beside the one from 2002.
D'Iberville (14-0) plays Noxubee County for the 4A state championship tonight at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Assistant coaches Jason Hockaday, Josh Ladner and Robby Ellis, along with ninth-grade coach Sean Merrill shined on the Warriors' 2002 team.
"Having those coaches around who played on that team helps us a lot,'' Seymour said. "We feel its our time to win a championship.''
D'Iberville coach Buddy Singleton was pleased that the players and assistants worked together to put the Warriors into position to win a title.
"I don't think there's any jealously,'' Singleton said. "The players want to win a championship, the ultimate prize. I told them, 'No one remembers second place.' ''
D'Iberville already had the pieces in place to become a championship team, as All-South Mississippi performers Norwood, Bell and Seymour returned for their senior seasons.
-- Seymour clinched his second straight rushing title in South Mississippi, gaining 1,561 yards and 20 touchdowns.
-- Bell played as many as nine positions, shining at linebacker and tight end. He has 116 total tackles and scoring 12 TDs.
-- Norwood lived up to expectations as the Coast's top-ranked prospect, snagging 54 receptions for 1,001 yards and 13 TDs.
Entering the season, quarterback Jake Miller was a big unknown in the Warriors' title hopes.
Miller took it upon himself to guide the Warriors' offense that scored a school-record 582 points. He's thrown for 1,948 yards and 26 TDs. He also rushed for 567 yards and 15 more scores.
"There's no doubt that we wouldn't be here without Jake Miller,'' Singleton said. "He's done everything we've asked from him. Our quarterback does a lot in this offense. He runs and it and throws it.''
Singleton, who guided St. John to the 2A finals in 2001, expects a strong effort from the unbeaten Tigers (13-0), led by wide receiver Patrick Patterson and quarterback TeMarcus Conner. Patterson has caught 19 of Conner's 32 TD passes.
"Noxubee has a good team and Pat didn't play against Laurel last year in the finals,'' Singleton said. "They have a lot of experience. They will be fired up to play against us. I don't think there will be a blowout on either side. We'll have to avoid mistakes.''
Noxubee County coach M.C. Miller is aware of the Warriors' firepower.
"Diberville can run and throw the football very well,'' Miller said. "Our kids have been hungry to win a state championship.''
Game plan What: Class 4A state championship Who: D'Iberville (14-0) vs. Noxubee County (13-0) When: Today, 7 p.m. Where: Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, Jackson Radio: WAOY-91.7 FM TV: Mississippi Public Broadcasting System Tickets: At gate are $12 each. |Here are the two remaining championship games today| Class 2A: Forest (14-0) vs. Baldwyn (13-1), 11 a.m. Class 3A:Tylertown (12-0) vs. Louisville (11-3), 3 p.m.