D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - After what felt like perhaps the longest offseason ever, it’s finally game week in South Mississippi. And for the D’Iberville football team, it feels a little extra special after the last six months of uncertainty.
“It’s still like it’s not real,” head coach Larry Dolan said. “We’ve been doing this so long, dealing with all the COVID issues, going to school or not going to school. We’re ready to play. The kids are excited and the coaches are excited.”
Offensively, the Warriors return their starting quarterback, a pair of 300-yard rushers, and two of the top three receivers from last year’s squad. A promising blueprint for a well-oiled offense that relies on more than just a single star.
“It’s a committee. I don’t like to have an offense that focuses on just one guy,” Dolan said. “I think we have that this year and we can spread the ball around. We feel that we have quality people at most of our skill positions, and they have to perform. It’s great to have returning starters back, but it doesn’t mean anything until you perform that season.”
One of those returning starters is Minnesota commit Justin Walley, who is primed for a massive season, but knows his team has more than one way to bake a cake.
“We’re going to be explosive,” Walley said. “We have a lot of players who can actually play, so we’re going to be really explosive this year, and athletic. It’s just a hard-working football team that’s going to fight every down, every game.”
On the defensive side, a handful of starters from last year’s team are ready to take their next step, too. But having a year or so of experience is only part of the path.
“We have five or six guys but again, and I preach this real hard to them, it’s all good on paper that you’re back,” Dolan said. “But if you don’t make plays, it doesn’t matter if you’re a three-year starter or a one-year starter.”
Fresh off a nine-win season and more than capable of doing that again, the Warriors know what they can accomplish - but aren’t looking anywhere past what’s directly in front of them.
“We just take it a week at a time, game by game,” quarterback Dwight Williams said. “We don’t focus on state because to get to state, we have to focus on where we are right now. Now that it’s game week, we’re just focused on Wayne County, watching film, and see what we have to do.”
The Warriors lost games against Jefferson Davis County, Picayune and Hammond because of the push back of the season, but picked up road games against Wayne County and George County.