Destrehan and Hahnville enter into the heart of district play

Hahnville eager to bounce back against E. Ascension


October 11, 2007 at 11:23 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

PARISH RIVALS. After last week’s slugfest, both Hahnville and Destrehan High Schools have to continue their strong play against their remaining four district foes. This week, Hahnville will host East Ascension and their strong offense, while Destrehan wil
Photo by Jonathan Menard
PARISH RIVALS. After last week’s slugfest, both Hahnville and Destrehan High Schools have to continue their strong play against their remaining four district foes. This week, Hahnville will host East Ascension and their strong offense, while Destrehan wil
Though losing to rival Destrehan in double-overtime may be a bitter pill to swallow, Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin knows that his team doesn't have time to think about what might have been.

Instead, the Tigers must use the experience they gained last week to pull out a much-needed win against district foe East Ascension.

"You never know how your team is going to bounce back after a loss," Valdin said. "So far, we have a good attitude and I think we came out of this game realizing that we could play with the best teams in the state. I think we need to have a sense of urgency because this game against East Ascension becomes almost a must-win."

The Hahnville players should be proud of their performance last week.

They drew first blood when Jai Steib smashed his way into the end zone halfway through the second quarter, and eventually took a 17-7 lead late into the fourth quarter.

However, Destrehan put together a 73-yard drive to cut into the Tiger advantage 17-14, then tied up the contest with a Ryan Rome field goal as time expired.

"I'm proud of my kids because they played hard," Valdin said. "I thought they were out-manned talent wise, but they played with a lot of heart, a lot of enthusiasm. We hung in there and took maybe the most talented team in the state to double overtime."

The play that actually sent the game into overtime has become a hot-topic on both sides of the Mississippi.

With the Wildcats trailing by three, Destrehan attempted what would be a game-tying field goal with five seconds on the clock.

Though a faulty snap seemingly gave Hahnville the win, penalty flags flew to the field because of a false start on the Wildcats.

Destrehan's Rome got another chance to send the game into overtime, and this time, sailed the ball through the uprights.

"I just thought it was a bad snap," Valdin said. "It was hard to see on film, but I'm not worried about that kind of stuff. We don't make excuses and we should have played better and won the game.

"This game didn't come down to one call. We had a chance to put them away but we didn't do it."

Destrehan began their tying drive after Trey Watkins stepped in front of an errant pass with a little over four minutes remaining.

Valdin says he was still going to the air at that point because he knew that Destrehan is always capable of piling on points.

"We knew that a 10-point lead on Destrehan is nothing, so we were just going to stay with the same plan," he said. "We weren't going to sit on the lead."

Also, quarterback B.J. Young and receiver Laron Byrd had been on fire throughout the contest.

Young finished the game with 235 yards and two touchdowns, while Byrd caught nine passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.

Hahnville will need to continue that success to get their first district win Friday night when they take on East Ascension, who is coached by former Tiger John Lambert.

"The biggest strength they've got is their coach, who was here for eight years and knows our offense, knows our defense, knows our signals, knows our plays, and knows our cadence," Valdin said. "Other than that, they are very talented on offense, have a very athletic quarterback who can run, three good running backs, and an excellent wide receiver."

So far, Lambert has guided the Spartans to a 3-3 season record, with wins against Denham Springs, Lutcher, and Walker.

"We are expecting a lot of trick plays, motion, and shifting, so it's a lot tougher preparing this week because they are little more sophisticated in what they do than Destrehan," Valdin said. "They are not as talented as Destrehan, but they are still talented enough to beat us if we don't line up right."

Destrehan hopes to avoid letdown against St. Amant

While his team is fresh off of a thrilling 31-24 double-overtime victory over rival Hahnville, Destrehan head man Stephen Robicheaux knows that this is no time for the Wildcats to relax.

They still have four district games remaining, beginning with Friday night's showdown with St. Amant.

"It's going to be tough because you don't want a letdown, obviously," Robicheaux said. "We are coming off of a big, emotional win, but I think our kids are good enough, and with the experienced kids we have, I think we will be ok."

Destrehan trailed for almost the entire contest against Hahnville, but managed to fight back from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to tie up the game with a field goal as time expired.

A false-start penalty on Destrehan's previous game-winning attempt gave them new life, but that penalty has been a subject of controversy this week. However, Robicheaux says the call was a good one.

"What happened was when the center snapped the ball, he began his snap, hesitated, then snapped it," he said. "We were kicking the field goal, our guy ends up double clutching, and they call a penalty, and rightfully so. They have to go back and put the time back on the clock."

After taking advantage of that time to tie up the game on a Ryan Rome field goal, the Wildcats needed both their offense and defense to deliver in overtime.

In the second overtime, Destrehan's Jordan Jefferson connected with Damaris Johnson to put the Wildcats up by seven.

Shortly after, Darrington Sentimore sacked B.J. Young to push Hahnville back to the 28-yard line, before a host of Wildcat defenders knocked down Young's final end zone pass.

"I thought we were playing a lot better in the second half than we were in the first and I felt like we had an advantage in overtime," Robicheaux said. "I thought our kids had stopped their run and they were going to have to throw it to beat us in overtime. I liked our chances in a 10-yard game, and obviously, we had to make a stop."

While Robicheaux would obviously be confident in his team's chances after they took back the momentum by sending the game into overtime, the coach never felt his squad was out of the contest.

"Our kids always think they have a shot to win," he said. "Even as coaches, when we were down 17-7, you still think you have a shot to win with the type of personnel we have. The kids made plays when they needed to."

Overall, Robicheaux was just pleased to come out with a win.

"I thought we played a real good football team that was well-coached," he said. "It was a big win against a good football team and it could have gone either way. We're just real excited it went our way."

Now, the Wildcats must turn their attention to St. Amant, who is currently struggling with a 2-4 season record.

The Gators opened up the season with three straight losses to Parkview Baptist, Lutcher, and Central, but have gone 2-1 in their last three contest, including a 57-54 win over St. Charles Catholic.

"They have a real good offense and they can score points," Robicheaux said. "They have a quarterback who has already committed to Iowa State who does a good job of throwing the football. We have to be ready to play because the pit down there is a tough place. Hopefully, we can go down there and have some success."

Questions? Comments? Story ideas? Email Herald-Guide Editor Jonathan Menard at jonathanm@heraldguide.com.




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