D’IBERVILLE – Holding a 24-20 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Petal looked too sure up its potential upset over No. 1 seeded D’Iberville in the first round of the 6A playoffs.
As the Panthers began to march down the field and seize a two-possession lead, quarterback Jackson Allen’s pass was tipped as D’Iberville’s Raymond Lias came up with a pick-six to take the lead over Petal. The pick-six helped the Warriors control momentum over Petal and hold off the Panthers and come away with 33-31 win.
“They made a great play,” Petal coach Marcus Boyles said. “Their guy tipped the ball and then made a heck of a play. Hats off to them right there.”
After almost a scoreless first half, Petal and D’Iberville combined to score three touchdowns in less than a minute. With less than three minutes in the second quarter, D’Iberville’s star player Justin Walley, who was also named 6A’s Mr. Football, broke the stalemate with a 17-yard touchdown run.
Quickly Petal responded as Allen connected with Micah Cherry for a 70-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. On D’Iberville’s next offensive play, Walley continued to make his presence known as he scored on a 71-yard touchdown to give the Warriors a 14-7 lead. Walley rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries in the first half.
Before the half, Petal kicker Nate Jones booted a 19-yard field goal to narrow the lead to 14-10.
As Walley made his presence known, Jeremiah Robinson returned the favor to D’Iberville as he broke out a 21-yard touchdown to put Petal ahead 17-14 in the third quarter.
After being held to a three and out, D’Iberville’s frustration began to show on Petal’s next offensive series. The Warriors were flagged five times, which set up Robinson’s second touchdown of the night from the 1-yard line and extended Petal’s lead 24-14.
Walley managed to keep his team alive in the fourth quarter as he came up with a 17-yard touchdown run. Walley finished the night with 186 yards and three touchdowns. While Petal managed to hold Walley to 41 yards in the second half, the pick-six turned the tide.
“We did a better job of tackling him,” Boyles said. “I thought we played really good in the second half, but the pick-six was a big play for us right there. We just didn’t make enough plays in the end zone.”
After Allen’s interception, Petal answered the score with Robinson’s third touchdown of the game to stay ahead 31-27.
However, with over 2 minutes left in the game, D’Iberville responded on a heartbreaking fourth and five play inside Petal’s red zone. D’Iberville wide receiver Kenneth Irving, who faced double coverage, adjusted on a low throw from his quarterback Dwight J Williams to score on a 19-yard touchdown. The Warriors notably missed the following PAT, the third miss kick of the night as D’Iberville missed a 28-yard field goal and another PAT earlier in the game.
Hoping to march down the field and kick a game-winning field goal, the Panthers began to slowly drive. Instead, the Panthers failed to convert several key plays, and on the last play of the game, Allen was intercepted again, which sealed D’Iberville’s win.
“I’m real proud of our team,” Boyles said. “D’Iberville has a heck of a football team. I think they will go a long way. I’m proud of (our) guys with the way they played.”