No. 24 Hahnville enters playoffs with healthy QB, rushing game

November 14, 2013 at 10:36 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

A healthy Dylan Keller returned to quarterback the Tigers last week in their big win over South Lafourche.
A healthy Dylan Keller returned to quarterback the Tigers last week in their big win over South Lafourche.
For the 14th year in a row, Hahnville High School will compete in the Class 5A playoffs when they travel to Ouachita this Friday.

Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin said he always approaches the playoffs in the same way.

“It is a one game season,” he said. “Somebody asked me who we might be playing next week. I don’t even know. I am looking at Friday night.”

This Friday the playoffs will start off with a long drive from Boutte to Monroe for the No. 24 ranked Hahnville Tigers (5-5), who will take on the No. 9 Ouachita Lions (6-3). Valdin said he will go out of his way to ensure his players’ comfort during the long trip to Ouachita.

 “For us it is going to be how we handle the travel,” Valdin said. “We are going to leave early Friday morning and stop a couple of times to let them stretch.”

Hahnville is coming off a huge rushing game in which they put up over 300 yards on the ground to defeat the South Lafourche Tarpons, 30-20.

The game featured quarterback Dylan Keller in his first full game since being injured during the second week of the year. Keller got off to a good start rushing in from five yards out on a bootleg for a touchdown on the first series of the game.

South Lafourche answered with two touchdowns to take a lead into halftime, but Hanhville came back in the second half with 23 unanswered points. The Tigers also had two rushers who went over 100 yards in Keller and tailback Lynn Simmons. Each player also scored two touchdowns.

“I thought we played hard, especially the second half. We were by far the more physical team,” Valdin said. “The second half we dominated on both sides of the ball. We were able to come back from behind.”

Valdin was particularly impressed by the play of Simmons, who on one run looked like he was stopped for only a few yards gain, but broke numerous tackles on his way to a 34-yard touchdown.

“He made one of the greatest runs in Hahnville history on Friday night,” Valdin said. “He was just trying to make the first down and dragged about five Tarpons and broke out of the pack and scored.”

To close the regular season out with a win gives Hahnville some momentum going into the playoffs.

“For the first time in a while I thought we played with great intensity and enthusiasm and the kids were having fun out there playing,” Valdin said.

The coach hopes he can keep that kind of feeling going into this week’s game.

Due to their location, Ouachita is a virtual unknown to Hahnville, but Valdin said he has been watching film ever since the match up was announced on Sunday night.

In particular, they are looking at the play of Cameron Sims, a six-foot-five wide receiver who has already committed to Alabama.

“They throw it up and this guy goes and gets it,” Valdin said. “To be an Alabama recruit you’ve got to be pretty good.”

Despite having a threat through the air in Sims, Valdin said Ouachita mostly relies on a good rushing attack.

“They’ve got a good quarterback and a tailback that can run,” he said. “They get into a shotgun power I and run it right at you.”

On defense, Valdin said the Lions best player is also Sims, who backs up the line as free safety.

“They stay in one defense pretty much and they are very good fundamentally,” he said.

  Valdin said the game’s outcome will hinge on how each team handles the rushing game.

“It is going to come down to dominating the line of scrimmage and whoever stops the other team’s running game,” he said.

Hahnville takes on Ouachita in Monroe on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

View other articles written Kyle Barnett

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