D’Iberville celebrates first region title since 2013
Tack another win onto the streak.
The No. 5 D’Iberville Warriors extended their winning streak over St. Martin to 13 games on Friday night, knocking off their rival 35-21 at Buddy Singleton Field. With the win, the Warriors (8-3, 6-1) clinched their first Region 4-6A title since 2013.
“This means everything to us, really,” said running back Micah Booker, who rushed for a game-high 143 yards and three touchdowns. “Everybody at the beginning of the season doubted us. Said ‘new coach, new team, new offense,’ and thought we weren’t going to have a good year, a rebuilding year.
“We’re just happy to come out here and prove them wrong and to come away with one of our goals, which is getting a district championship.”
The Jackets (6-6, 3-4), meanwhile, could have backed their way into the postseason with a three-way tie with Gulfport and Harrison Central, but the Admirals knocked off Biloxi.
“They have a good team. We had opportunities early and didn’t take advantage of them. They did what they wanted to do and beat us,” St. Martin coach Eddie Wayne Whitehead said. “It’s tough to lose. Emotions run high. I’m proud of our seniors. We did a lot. We didn’t end up where we wanted to, but I wish (the seniors) well.”
Setting the tone
D’Iberville never trailed Friday night, thanks in large part to the Warriors’ defense.
The Yellow Jackets set up for a 38-yard field goal attempt late in the first quarter, but a trio of Warriors broke through the protection to block the kick. D.J. Polk alertly picked up the live ball near D’Iberville’s end zone and, with a caravan of blockers, he returned it all the way to St. Martin’s 11. Two plays later Booker plunged into the end zone for a 9-yard score.
Booker later scored on runs of 10 and 6 yards in the second half to keep the Warriors ahead.
“As coach says, my role on the team is as the cowbell, the bruiser, the person they want to lay the hit,” Booker said. “If I can break a run and get more than five or 10 yards, that’s great because my line does a great job blocking.”
Ja’Quavis Foster scored on a 35-yard run with eight minutes remaining in the first half to put D’Iberville ahead 14-7. After St. Martin struck back to tie the game on a 37-yard touchdown from Wayne Overman III to Kalem Reddix with 3:11 remaining in the first half, D’Iberville answered. Michael Kozlowski faked the handoff and aired out a pass down the home sideline. St. Martin bit on the fake, leaving Layton Businelle all alone. The junior caught the pass around the St. Martin 30, picked up a key block and finished the play for a 61-yard score with 40 seconds left in the half.
“He was wide open. I just laid it up for him and he did the rest,” Kozlowski said. “I started sprinting as soon as he caught it. I knew it was a touchdown.”
St. Martin scoring
The Jackets kept pace with D’Iberville for much of the game.
Ham McGee opened St. Martin’s scoring after a DHS fumble early in the second quarter with a 3-yard run.
Overman also scored on a 1-yard run to open the second half, but it was the last time the Yellow Jackets found the end zone as their final three possessions of the game ended with a punt, turnover on downs and the end of the game.
“The kids bought into the system and believed. We stay on them about keep fighting. That’s something we believe in. Keep fighting and eventually we’ll make the adjustments to win the football game. That’s something Coach (Eric) Collins preaches,” said DHS defensive coordinator Brandon McGill, whose unit held St. Martin under 22 points for just the third time this year. “They probably have the best receiving corp you’re going to see on the Coast. They’re a very explosive football team, but the kids got up for the game.
“It’s a rivalry game and they knew what was at stake.”
Overman, who recently committed to Air Force, completed 9 of 23 passes for 181 yards with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown. He was also picked off by D’Iberville’s Tyler Barnes just before halftime.
Reddix, a Colorado State commit, finished the game with six receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Behind Booker, Foster finished with 122 yards and a touchdown while Kahlil McCray added 84 yards rushing.
Friday’s game intensified as the night progressed and was actually called by officials with a little over six seconds remaining due to extracurricular activities on the field that resulted in both sidelines spilling onto the field at one point.
Earlier in the game St. Martin lost sophomore linebacker Donte’ Starks, who was carted off the field after suffering a leg injury. Whitehead did not have a status update immediately after the game
D’Iberville won’t spend too much time basking in Friday night’s victory as the Warriors will host Petal (7-4) next Friday to open the Class 6A playoffs.
“(The region title) means everything. It’s really a blessing,” Barnes said. “Now that we have that goal it’s in the past. It’s time to move on to the playoffs.”