[Premium article] D'Iberville (MS) High School, one of the top teams in south Mississippi this season, is 9-1 on the season and currently playing in the Class 4A playoffs. Having defeated South Jones HS 33-13 last Friday night, D'Iberville will play 6th ranked George County HS (10-1) this Friday night in D'Iberville.

Most people, when they think about D'Iberville HS this year, automatically think of senior running back Torey Staten. Torey, a Clarion-Ledger's Dandy Dozen selection this year, has run for over 1,800 yards, including 179 against South Jones HS last Friday night.

Although on the small size, 5-foot-8, 175 pounds, Torey is extremely fast, sub 4.5 forty, and is very, very tough. According to Doug Merrill, the father of a teammate of Torey's, "he gets whacked every play then gets up and calmly walks back to the huddle."

Doug is not the only person who has noticed how good Torey is. According to Torey, several colleges have been in contact. "The SWAC schools are calling me. Ole Miss, Rice, USM, LSU, MSU have either come to see me play or shown interest in me." As of now, he has not set up any official visits but expects to after the Mississippi high school playoffs are over. He has no favorite at this time. Although he is a running back, the word is he has the ability to become an excellent kick returner on the next level.

Torey is not the only senior on the team that is having a great season. Kris Arnold, a 6-foot-3, 260 pound, senior defensive end, has made numerous tackles this season. Kris is a tough kid who is also a very good player.

While those are the seniors that have helped lead D'Iberville into the playoffs, there are several junior players who have also made significant contributions.

Robbie Ellis is a 6-foot-1, 210-pound, junior linebacker. He is a tough player who gets every ounce of his ability out during games.

Another junior linebacker is Jason Hockaday, a 5-foot-10, 190-pounder who runs the forty in 4.9 seconds. On the season, he has made over 100 tackles with 5 blocked punts.

Doug Merrill is extremely high on Jason after seeing him play the past two season. "I personally think the best player on the team is Jason Hockaday. This kid hits like a truck. He knows the play before the offensive player knows the play. He is always involved in the tackle. He is a great player and a phenomenal kid. He is good because he just knows what is happening on the field. He is unbelievably intense. It is nothing for him to jump over a player or two to make a tackle."

Jason, playing football since he was eight years old, describes himself as a player who, "loves the game and likes to hit people."

Jason, who should grow a couple more inches (his dad is 6-foot-2), is also a very good baseball player. In fact, he has received a couple of letters from Southern Miss baseball. What makes him so good is the fact that he can hit and has a very strong arm. "I play catcher," said Jason. "I throw 1.9 to 2.0 seconds flat in a game situation. I led the team in batting my freshman and sophomore years. I batted .319 my freshman year and .353 my sophomore year."

Last but surely not least among D'Iberville's junior players is Sean Merrill, a 6-foot-4+, 270-pound defensive end with 4.8 forty speed.

An excellent student (3.35 core per his dad, Doug), Sean was voted the Defensive Player of the Year on the Gulf Coast at the end of his 10th grade year. As his dad said, after that happened, "we knew the secret was out then. (Sean) is being looked at pretty heavy. Ole Miss has come down to look at him. LSU has looked at him. However, right now I would say that he really likes Mississippi State."

Not one to rest on his laurels, Sean is having another good year, especially the past few games. "During the last two or three weeks his game has really changed immensely," said his dad, Doug. "I don't know what has happened but he now looks like a man playing against boys. I guess his football instincts have just now settled in. Sean is double-teamed and triple-teamed every play. It was very frustrating for him at the beginning of the year. He is beating them now. The only flaw I see in my son's play is he doesn't play at 100% until he gets mad."

Even his teammate, Torey Staten, a highly recruited player himself, can see what is in store for the very talented Sean. "Sean will be a big-time recruit next year," said Torey.

With the 6th ranked George County High School team coming to town this Friday night, unranked D'Iberville will now see if their very talented group of players can take care of business.

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at

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