Week seven was a big spot for the D’Iberville Warriors and our News 25 student athlete of the week came through in a big way.
Junior quarterback Jaden Walley set the tone early during Friday’s region 4 class 6A show down with Ocean Springs en route to a 49-28 victory.
The Warriors needed a win in the worst way and they got it with their team captain at his best.
Coming off back to back losses, building confidence early was paramount for the Warriors who hadn’t won a game in over a month. Instead D’Iberville fumbled on the second play of the game. “I’m always like that. I need one play to get right and then the next, I’m good after that. (So it’s like basketball, you’ve just got to see one go in?) Got to see one go in and I’m good.”
What got the Warriors going was hardly a layup. On the second play of the next drive, Walley broke one 62 yards for the first touchdown of the game. “When I need to I know I can get on down, so I take advantage of what God gave me and I go.”
On D’Iberville’s third possession, Walley did it again, this time busting out 59 yards for yet another house call. Head Coach Eric Collins said, “When people ask how fast he is, I think he’s as fast as he needs to be and that’s the way I’ll put that. So nobody is going to catch him from behind, so if he has to be a little faster so that guy doesn’t catch him I think he’s got that extra gear. A lot of guys are fast, but they don’t have that acceleration. So from like 0-5 yards, he’s probably the fastest guy I’ve ever coached. He is so quick, and can get to top speed so fast and he can make you miss and so those are the things that make him so dynamic.”
Despite missing much of the second half with cramps and a bum ankle, Walley still racked up a career high 214 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries as well as 96 yards passing with another score plus a seven yard reception and four total tackles on defense. The end result was D’Iberville’s first district win of the season. “We just know we’ve got a winning record right now, so that’s going to keep pushing us and pushing us and we know we can’t lose no more. And my offensive line, I’m going to brag on them. They’re good, they know they’re good, but they’re going to work hard every single day. They’re going to work harder than everybody else on this field every single day, and that’s what I think keeps us going all the time on offense.”
“Listen, all I can say is this. A lot of times you could brag on a kid for his athletic ability and certainly I could do that, he’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached. But more importantly, he’s one of the best character kids that I’ve ever coached. I mean he does a great job in the classroom, you would trust him to babysit your kids, he is just a fantastic person.”
Even as a junior, Walley already has collegiate offers from Southern Miss and Alcorn State. Coach Collins also says if you look at Walley’s report card he probably has straight A’s.
In week eight, the Warriors will travel to Pascagoula for a 7 p.m. kickoff on Friday night.