Valdin expects big plays, physical game as Tigers battle East St. John
Hahnville’s defense played one of their best games of the season as the Tigers picked up their first win of the year against Higgins.
The 1-4 Tigers are 1-0 in district play as are the 2-3 East St. John Wildcats, who last week blew out district foe John Ehret 28-0. Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin played up the importance of the game as it relates to the district championship.
"We are 1-0 in district," Valdin said. "There are three teams that are 1-0 in the district right now and the winner (of this game) is going to be in the driver’s seat."
Although East St. John shut out John Ehret they were outrushed 170-124. However, Wildcats running back Kadeem Vance led all rushers with 92 yards on 17 carries.
Valdin said he is most focused on the Wildcats’ passing game. Darion Monroe, East St. John’s star quarterback from last year, graduated and is now playing for Tulane University. However, Valdin said his replacement, Leonard Davis, is hard to handle.
"They moved their best player on the team to quarterback and there isn’t much of a drop off. He’s a dual threat guy," Valdin said. "Their quarterback and wide receiver No. 5 (Dez Broussard) make some big plays on offense."
The Wildcats also made at least one big play on defense last week when defensive end Charlie Payne returned an interception for a 62-yard touchdown.
It was similar types of plays that kept the Bonnabel Bruins in the game last Thursday as Hahnville squeaked by with a 20-19 win. The Bruins returned both a fumble and interception for a touchdown in that game.
Valdin is hoping the Tigers can keep from turning the ball over this week.
"It’s maybe the first time I can ever remember giving up two defensive touchdowns and winning," Valdin said.
Outside of the defensive touchdowns and a few big plays on offense, the Tigers controlled the game with over 300 yards rushing and numerous defensive stands.
"The score didn’t indicate how dominate we were," Valdin said. "We ran the ball up and down the field. They had one good play on offense and other than that we crushed them."
Valdin said those two defensive touchdowns caused his team to suffer in the latter parts of the game and the effects might spill over into this week.
"We couldn’t put them away in the fourth quarter and got a couple of our starters dinged up," Valdin said.
Although Valdin felt good overall about the victory over Bonnabel, he said the Tigers still have significant parts of their game that need to be tightened up if they expect to beat East St. John.
"We go back to work and work on trying to be more physical," Valdin said. "Our passing game kind of broke down in the second half against Bonnabel. No. 1 you can’t come from behind if that is the case and No. 2 (East St. John head coach Phillip) Banko is smart enough to know he can put nine guys in the box and stop our rushing game."
Overall Valdin is anticipating a close game.
"I think it will be a typical Hahnville and East St John game – big plays, physical game, very, very close," Valdin said. "It will come down to the last minute of the game as it always does."
Valdin said during the East St. John game the Tigers will be showing support for the Wounded Warriors Project.
"This Friday night is senior salute and we are doing Wounded Warrior Project awareness," Valdin said. "The coaches are going to have camouflage hats on and the players are going to have a camouflage ‘H’ on their helmet."
Kickoff for the game is at 7 p.m. at Hahnville.
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Destrehan routs ESJ to advance to quarterfinals - 1000 views
The Destrehan Wildcats made a statement Friday night by running all over East St. John in a 68-14 victory. With the win, the Wildcats advance to the quarterfinals of the Class 5A playoffs where they will face parish rival Hahnville.