Polar opposites will clash on Friday night in Lucedale when No. 3 D’Iberville travels to No. 10 George County in a highly anticipated Region 4-6A matchup.
The run-heavy Warriors (4-2, 2-0) have won their first two region games against Biloxi and Ocean Springs by a combined score of 82-35.
The air-raid Rebels (3-3, 1-1), meanwhile, are fresh off of an impressive 36-14 victory at reigning region champ Gulfport.
With both teams riding high, Friday night’s showdown could be one to remember.
“It’s a pivotal game,” new GCHS coach Matt Caldwell said Wednesday. “They’re all huge from here on out. You can’t have a slip up because they’re only going to take four out of eight for the playoffs. On any given night in our division, you can get beat or win. There’s nobody on the schedule (that is an easy win).”
The teams’ contrasting styles make Friday night all the more intriguing. The Warriors are fresh off of a game in which three different running backs — Ja’Quavis Foster, Micah Booker and Kahlil McCray — rushed for more than 100 yards. The Rebels, meanwhile, love to air it out and have three receivers among the Coast’s leaders in Tyrese Fryfogle, Dwan Williams and Kaleb Gentry.
“It couldn’t be any more opposite on the totem pole,” new D’Iberville coach Eric Collins said.
In scouting the Rebels, Collins has circled Fryfogle, Williams and quarterback LaRaymond Spivery, who is among the nation’s leading passers with 2,370 yards.
“We have to contain the fearsome threesome. We have to contain those guys,” he said. “They can score from anywhere on the field at any time.
“They’ll get their plays but we can’t let them go off.”
The Warriors have the defensive personnel to potentially get the job done. Southern Miss commit Tyler Barnes is the unquestioned defensive leader, coupled with recent Bernard Blackwell North/South All-Star Game selection D.J. Polk and Chris Thompson, the three represent a solid “no fly zone.”
“I like the matchup,” Collins said. “It’ll be a good challenge for us.”
Like George County’s “fearsome threesome,” Caldwell has singled out Foster, Booker and McCray to his players. Behind a massive offensive line, Booker wears opponents down, while Foster and McCray are a threat to break a big gain at any moment.
“D’Iberville has big backs, big offensive line and they just pound you, pound you and pound you,” Caldwell said. “We have to get some stops and not turn the ball over because we’re not going to get as many possessions because of the way they play offense.”
Consistency has been George County’s biggest issue this season. The Rebels opened the season with wins over Gautier and Greene County but then dropped consecutive games to Petal, Pascagoula and Harrison Central (in overtime). Last Friday’s 36-14 win at Gulfport was big for a number of reasons. For starters, it was George County’s best defensive showing of the season. It also was the Rebels’ most complete effort to date.
“That was big for us,” Caldwell said. “Gulfport is a really good football team. To go to there place and win on the road was big for our program. But I told the kids on Monday, you can’t worry about it because it doesn’t matter anymore. If you hold onto it too long the next team will sneak up and beat you.”
Kickoff on Friday is set for 7 p.m.
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Who: D’Iberville at George County
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Radio: 1390 AM, 106.9 FM