OCEAN SPRINGS – Behind a strong ground game led by Minnesota commit Justin Walley and Justice Davis, D’Iberville remained undefeated through four games with a 27-24 win over previously unbeaten Ocean Springs in Region 4-6A play Friday night.
However, the game was not without its problems for the Warriors. Ocean Springs (4-1) scored quickly on their first two possessions of the second half, the second score off a D’Iberville fumble at their Warriors 22, to take a 24-20 lead just over two-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter. Penalties also hurt the Warriors as they were flagged 13 times for 94 yards.
In the third quarter, D’Iberville marched from their own 18 to the Greyhound 13, with Walley bursting a 45-yard romp. However, four consecutive penalties, including two holding calls, pushed the ball back to the 35 for a fourth-and-27 and D’Iberville would turn the ball over on downs.
D’Iberville finally got out of their way in the fourth quarter. Needing a score, the Warriors advanced the ball downfield behind the running of Davis and Drey Lenior. Quarterback Dwight Williams made the big play, hitting wideout Colton Deshazo for 36-yard strike to the Greyhounds 18. Four plays later, Davis scored his second touchdown of the night, going in from two yards out, to give D’Iberville back the lead 27-24.
“We had to battle for it,” Davis said. “This win was a great win for us.”
D’Iberville coach Larry Dolan said he wanted see what his team would do if it feel behind. “We’ve been playing some pretty sound football for the season,” he said. “I wanted to see if we could come back.”
With help from Warrior penalties, two fumbles, an interception, and a starting field position at their 22 for the Warriors compared to Ocean Springs, which started their average possession at the D’Iberville 47, Ocean Springs kept it close. Dolan was happy with the way his team responded.
“We just kept on fighting,” he said. “We had to play good football to beat a good football team the way we played tonight.”
“We just kept running the ball,” Davis said. “Put your foot down to plant and run the ball.”
And, run the ball the Warriors did. With Walley gaining 249 yards on 14 carries and two scores and Davis adding 102 yards on 17 carries, D’Iberville ran for 416 yards. Williams was 7-of-13 for 143 yards, hitting Walley twice for 52 yards, giving him over 300 yards in total offense, and Deshazo twice for 62 yards.
D’Iberville led 20-10 at the half behind a 67-yard sprint and 2-yard scoring run as time expired in the half from Walley. Davis opened the scoring with a 1-yard plunge with 9:19 remaining in the first quarter.
A 69-yard kickoff return by Aden Cox set up a 1-yard Bray Hubbard run with nine minutes left in the first quarter. Ethan Hunt added a 34 yard field goal in the second to account for the Greyhounds’ first half points.
Ocean Springs came out on fire to open the second half. Replacing an injured Hubbard, Jak King connected on two passes, the second for a 25-yard score to J.P. Coulter to cut the Warriors lead to 20-17. D’Iberville would fumble on their first play of the third quarter, leading to a 22-yard touchdown from David Humphries to give the Greyhounds a 24-20 lead.
Humphries finished with 113 yards on 14 carries.
“D’Iberville is an excellent football team,” said Ocean Springs coach Blake Pennock. “We knew they had an excellent player in Walley, but they have a good supporting cast around him.”
Despite the loss, Pennock said that all of Ocean Springs’ goals were still in reach. “Everything we want is still in front of us,” he said. “We will take this game and learn from it and get prepared for Biloxi.”