Already more than halfway home on News 25’s ’25 Teams in 25 Days’ at stop number 13. That’s where we find the D’Iberville High School football program, just two years removed from its last Region 4 Class 6A championship.
But that’s too long for the Warriors, who bring November football ambitions into the 2019 season under first-year Head Coach Larry Dolan.
Dolan said, “Our whole thing is we want to play on November 15th. That’s the first round of the playoffs. And we’re not playing a jamboree game. We don’t want to play our extra football in August, we want to play it in November.”
That’s long been the standard for the Warriors dating back to the program’s Class 4A State Championship in 2002. Exactly the kind of rich history that makes D’Iberville a destination job. “I spent a lot of time in Forrest County — 20-something years — and D’Iberville was one of those schools that we always played and I admired their program from afar. At my age, I wasn’t going to come just anywhere. This is a great program, and I just want to be a part of this tradition.”
Eleven years later, Coach Dolan won a 4A state title of his own at Forrest County Agricultural High School, where his name still resides on the field house to this day. Now, those two legacies collide in D’Iberville heading into 2019. Quarterback Jaden Walley said, “It was something that was in his heart, I guess. And I know it’s in our hearts to want to win and he just had to get it out of us, and I think he’s getting it out of us right now.”
Linebacker Mason Furney said, “Well see, he pours his heart into everything in this program. He doesn’t take anything lightly, and we give him the same energy back every single day. It becomes a family together. He’s led us, he’s going to lead us into this season and we’re going to follow him every step he takes.”
The expectations don’t change under new leadership, but if everything goes according to plan, the results will. Last year, the Warriors missed the playoffs for the first time since 2004 ending a 13-year run of what seemed like an automatic trip to the post-season. “We’re using last season as motivation, that’s our biggest motivation right now.”
“Well, this whole community drives that. I mean D’Iberville is a football community and it’s really an athletic community. But the people support it, and there’s a lot of people that are on these kids about getting to the playoffs and the success D’Iberville has had and they hear it from more than just me, I assure you.”
At least on the offensive side of the ball, D’Iberville’s comeback trail starts with senior quarterback and future division I signee Jaden Walley. Electrifying as they come, he’s one of just five returning starters ready to lead the Warriors to their first playoff victory since 2014. “It’s just something new. And we need to try to get back to it, work back to it as a team.”
“We’re kind of counted down and out lately, but we’re going to get back to how the way we are. Be the Warriors. We haven’t been the Warriors for a little bit. And so we’re ready to get back to that and become the Warrior nation that our whole community believes us to be.”
D’Iberville kicks off one of the hardest non-district schedules on the Gulf Coast with an August 23rd home game against Jefferson Davis County. That’s followed by Picayune and Poplarville.