HHS faces tough test against stout O.P. Walker defense
|Photo by Jonathan Menard|
RUSHING. Hahnville running back Jai Steib rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns against Helen Cox.
Two of Steib's three scores came in the second quarter, and his last, with 6:47 left in the third, put the Tigers up 24-12. That touchdown, which was set up by an impressive interception by junior defensive lineman Shea Majoria, effectively put the game out of reach.
“I was pleased, especially by the way we rebounded after the overtime loss to South Plaquemine,” Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin said. “We ran the football well in the second half and I was pleased with our defensive effort throughout the whole game.”
Running the football well was not something the Tigers did in their first game. In fact, the team finished with -1 rushing yards in their overtime loss. This time, Steib alone managed to rack up 173 yards on the ground.
“We worked really hard on the running game in the week leading up to Cox,” Valdin said. “Playing Monday really helped us because we were able to correct a lot of the mistakes we made in that first game. It also showed us that we had problems running the ball and we worked really hard on that.”
Though Hahnville took an early lead in the contest with a 40-yard field goal by Brandon Larousse in the first quarter, Cox stormed back with a 74-yard touchdown run by quarterback Darius Carey.
Steib's first touchdown in the second quarter gave the Tigers a 10-6 lead, but a 41-yard pass from Carey to Javon Lawson helped set up Cox's second touchdown, putting them on top 12-10. However, with only 18 seconds left until the half, Steib scored on a 2-yard run and put the Tigers on top 18-12 heading into the break.
Cox wouldn't score again.
“The first half, we beat ourselves with silly penalties,” Valdin said. “We had a good drive to end the half and we played much better the second half.”
Two 2-point conversions, on a Guiseppe Crovetto pass and run, combined with a touchdown catch by running back Alfred Blue, rounded out the 32-12 Hahnville win.
The Tigers hope to continue that offensive success when they host O.P. Walker on Friday - but it won't be easy.
Walker is coming off a 9-5 season that ended with a loss in the semifinals of the 4A state playoffs. The Chargers return three major D-1 recruits from last year, including running back Tyrone Duplessis, linebacker Kendrick James and defensive back Deron Wilson. Wilson has already committed to Southern Miss.
So far, they have only allowed 12 points in their first two games - both wins. They beat Clark 34-6 and St. Augustine 28-6.
“They are the No. 2 ranked team in 4A behind Bastrop and they are very talented,” Valdin said. “They are really good on defense and they have the best offensive line we have faced so far.
“They also have a couple excellent running backs that we're going to have to stop."
To beat the Chargers, Valdin says his team is going to have to perform just like they did against Cox.
“We are going to have to manage the football, hold on to it and win the kicking game, because I believe ours is better,” Valdin said. “We also need to run the football well and protect our QB, which will be a challenge because Walker has such a talented defensive line.”
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