By James Jones / The Sun Herald
The Meridian Star
D’Iberville hasn’t lost in overtime this season.
The Warriors overcame a 21-7 second-half deficit to defeat Meridian 27-21 in overtime of the first-round Class 6A state playoffs on Friday night at Warrior Stadium.
D’Iberville (9-2) travels to Petal (11-1) in the second round next week.
The Warriors are a perfect 3-0 in overtime games, beating both Biloxi (22-21) and Ocean Springs (24-21).
“It was a great win,” Warriors coach Buddy Singleton said. “We don’t lose overtime games. No one gives us a chance. This is a great group of players who never quit and work hard.”
The Warriors scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to force overtime. Quarterback JoJo Warrick scored on a 3-yard run, cutting the gap to 21-14 with 6:10 left.
Meridian (8-4) tried to run out the clock, but quarterback J-Mar Smith was stopped on fourth and two at the Wildcats’ 45-yard line with 3:47 left in regulation. A Wildcats first down would’ve milked more time on the clock and doom the Warriors’ comeback hopes.
D’Iberville converted two fourth-down plays on its game-tying 55 yard scoring drive, capped by Warrick’s 15-yard TD pass to Rashad Moore with 22 seconds left. Nick Goyette’s kick tied the game at 21-all.
D’Iberville grabbed a 27-21 lead in overtime on Warrick’s 1-yard TD run. Goyette missed the extra point, which meant Meridian could win with a touchdown and conversion.
Meridian’s chance to tie the game ended when defensive back Tyler Evans batted down Smith’s pass in the end zone. The Warriors celebrated the victory with a pileup at midfield.
“I saw the ball coming toward the end zone and I just knocked it down,” Evans said. “I wasn’t thinking about an interception, just wanting to end the game.”
Meridian dominated the first half, leading 7-0 after one quarter and 14-0 at halftime.
Smith, who finished with 288 yards passing, threw scoring tosses of 14 yards to Desmond Grayson and a 81-yarder to Corey Davis in the first half.
D’Iberville had two scoring chances in the second quarter, but turned the ball over on each.
Warrick threw an interception on fourth-and-6 at the Wildcats’ 32. Warrick also fumbled at Meridian’s 5 in the final minutes of the second quarter.
“We felt that we could move the ball on them,” Singleton said. “They hadn’t stopped us.”
The Warriors came alive in the third quarter. Running back Quantrell Reddix’s 3-yard scoring run closed the gap to 14-7. Reddix finished with 146 yards rushing and now had 1,186 yards on the season.
Meridian extended its lead to 21-7 after three quarters on Smith’s 45-yard TD strike to Austin Holt.