Tigers’ defense leading the charge
Now, the Tigers have the chance to go into their first road game of the season against O.P. Walker with a 3-0 record. The only thing standing in their way is a determined Helen Cox team who, after opening the season with a 14-20 loss to St. Augustine, bounced back in a big way for a 50-0 win over Riverdale last week.
Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin is well aware of the explosive nature of the Cougars' offense.
"They are very, very athletic," Valdin said. "They have two big receivers, a slot receiver that is a great athlete and they have a good running back. They do a good job of mixing it up run and pass."
Still, it's hard to imagine any offense making a dent in the armor of the Hahnville defense. The group has been more than impressive in their first two wins and will only get better as the year drags on. Right now, they seem to be in mid-season form.
"We didn't expect the defense to be that dominant, but we expected them to be the strength of our team because they had more returning starters," Valdin said. "I thought the defense, overall, played really well."
While the defense, which had big performances from both Nathan Lewis and Reggie Johnson last week, has been strong, the offense has done their job in both victories by scoring when they needed to. They especially looked good in the second half of their win over Istrouma.
"Offensively, we started out a little slow in the first half, but in the second half, we picked it up," Valdin said. "Our execution was better and our pass protection was better. We had four different guys score touchdowns, so we are not a one dimensional football team offensively. We've got a lot of weapons."
Senior B.J. Young had another solid game in that contest, connecting on 10 of his 16 pass attempts with two of those completions going for touchdowns. Ivory Washington was the main beneficiary of those passes, recording five receptions for 63 yards and two touchdowns.
The one area Valdin would like to see become more explosive is the Tigers' ground game, which managed 129 yards last week and accounted for three touchdowns. Greg Julien was the team's leading rusher with 52 yards on 14 carries, while Jai Steib made the most of his nine carries by rushing for 47 yards, and Lauren White had 24 yards on seven carries. All three backs each scored a touchdown.
"I would like to be able to run the ball a little better because I think that is going to open up our passing game," he said. "When you can run the football, you control the clock and you control the tempo of the game."
Before they even get to the game though, the Tigers will have to deal with all of the buzz that a homecoming week brings to a school.
However, Valdin says the team must realize that the actual game determines whether or not homecoming is really a success.
"It's always a distraction," he said. "It's big for the seniors and you have a lot of festivities going on, but we just keep emphasizing the fact that everything surrounds the football game.
The game is the centerpiece to homecoming and we don't want to stink up the house Friday night and ruin homecoming for everybody."
However, as long as the team plays their brand of football and plays it hard, homecoming should be an enjoyable occasion.
"There are a lot of things you can't control, but we want to do well on the things we can control," Valdin said. "We can control how we execute, we can control how we line up, and we can control how hard we play. If we go out and play as hard as we can and we play mistake free football, we are a tough team to beat."
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