25 Teams in 25 Days: D’Iberville Warriors


A lot of high school football players would say there is no off-season, but if there is it is officially over.

This morning, teams were allowed to start their MHSAA sanctioned practices and D’Iberville was one of three local schools first on the field at 7 o’clock sharp, celebrating its version of Christmas in July, with the sole focus on unfinished business.

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D’Iberville Head Football Coach Eric Collins said, “Listen, the kids couldn’t sleep? I was up since 2:22. I remember waking up at 2:22 and all night I thought about practice and what I had to do and all of that and I couldn’t sleep so it’s exciting for everybody. It’s like having a kid in a candy shop, you know? And so everybody was excited, but we’re glad to get this first day under our belt.”

For the Warriors, day one was a lot of install. Special teams and conditioning to close things out, but still non-stop octane throughout the four-hour session. “We’re fast and physical, and we’re looking to punch somebody in the mouth.”

“We’re a fast-paced team, we’re going to do it fast and we’re going to do it hard and we’re going to get after it. No matter what.”

D’Iberville doesn’t have to look very far for its motivation in 2018. Last season, the Warriors made the 6A playoffs as a three seed with a league mark of 4-3, but surrendered its region 4 district crown to Gulfport. “From a personal standpoint, I want last year behind me. I don’t even want to think about what happened last year, and that’s from a personal standpoint as well as a team standpoint. And I know our guys are eager to reclaim that district championship that we feel belongs here,” said Coach Collins.

Linebacker Erick Thacker said, “We’re not as good as we think we are, but even though we’re still good, we’re going to come back harder than ever. We’re not going to stop until we get it back.”

“Really, we’re looking to knock down Gulfport and really take that title back.”

Southern Miss commit Louis Paul Smith will be the one leading that charge this season in the absence of 15 graduated seniors from a year ago. Even with a bright future ahead of him, the future Golden Eagle is staying in the moment on this Black and Gold team with D’Iberville’s August 17th home opener against Tylertown looming large. “I have to work for my team first before I go to college, and I have some unfinished business here in high school before I move on. And the way I look at it is if I do good here, it’ll transfer on to college and what I do there. But right now I’m just focused on high school football and doing the best I can possibly do for this team.”

Before practice the Warriors announced the winners from last week’s Warrior Challenge: Marquis Whitley and Cory Hathorn. D’Iberville gets right back at it tomorrow at 7 a.m.

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A native of Pass Christian and a St. Stanislaus alum, Jeff Haeger comes to News 25 from right in our backyard. He most recently spent more than three years working as the sports reporter for WHLT-TV in Hattiesburg, where he provided extensive coverage of his alma mater, The University of Southern Mississippi. At Southern Miss, Jeff was a member of the Honors College and graduated with a B.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. He also wrote for USM's award-winning school newspaper, The Student Printz, where he won first place for Best Sports Story in 2013. Jeff loves to travel, and is excited to get back on the water to reunite with his family. In his spare time you can find Jeff spending time with his friends, and maybe even winning a fantasy football league. For sports stories contact Jeff at jhaeger@wxxv25.com.