Jesuit offense will provide major test for Hahnville
Hahnville’s defense throttled the St. James offensive line last week, recording seven sacks and holding the Wildcats to -9 yards rushing. The Tiger defense also scored nine points on a fumble recovery and a safety.
The unit had three fumble recoveries in the game.
“I thought we played much better than in the scrimmage, especially on defense,” Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin said. “Against St. Charles Catholic, we beat ourselves with alignment issues. We lined up right against St. James and we were in the right position to make plays.”
The Tigers struggled on offense in the first half of the jamboree, and it took four trips inside the red zone before Hahnville scored their first touchdown. But as running backs Ernest Thompson, Mike Ford and Travis Faucheaux began to wear down the St. James defense, Hahnville began to pour on the points.
Thompson led the charge, scoring a rushing touchdown and returning a kickoff 90 yards for another score.
“I thought our running game did good and the offensive line improved,” Valdin said. “We had some missed opportunities early, but got things going towards the end. We have got to be able to run the football because if you do that you control the game.
“I was very, very pleased with Mike Ford, Ernest Thompson and Travis Faucheaux.”
The Tigers lone score through the air came on a 46-yard pass from Easton Melancon to Ronny Green.
Though the Hahnville defense showed drastic improvement from the scrimmage to the jamboree, they face a huge test tonight when they travel to take on Jesuit.
The Blue Jays went 10-3 last year and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class 5A playoffs before falling to West Monroe, 28-11. Last week, Jesuit beat Bonnabel 20-13 in their jamboree.
Jesuit returns most of their offensive playmakers from last year, including wide receiver Justin Poole and running backs Austin Duncan and Paul Stanton. They use a two-quarterback system with Cameron Dobbins as a running threat and Tanner Lee as a pocket passer.
Valdin said it’s hard to pinpoint one particular area where Jesuit shines offensively because they do everything well.
“They have flawless execution and they do a few things very, very well that they run out of a million formations,” he said. “They have two quarterbacks that rotate, one who is a great passer and one who is a great athlete. They also have two tailbacks that can run the ball well.”
Valdin said that the Blue Jays mix it up between run and pass and take what a defense gives them.
“They are very intelligent on offense,” he said. “They don’t make mistakes and they don’t turn the ball over.”
The Blue Jay defense is led by All-State linebacker Deion Jones, who was named the Catholic League Defensive Player of the Year.
“Their linebacking corps is good and on defense their team lines up right and they do a good job of playing team defense,” Valdin said. “They don’t take a lot of chances…bend but don’t break.
“But they run to the ball extremely well and their kicking game is outstanding.”
And something off the field could impact the game as well. Hahnville is not used to playing football on Thursday nights, while Jesuit and other teams in New Orleans habitually play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“We’re not used to that, but they are,” Valdin said. “We are used to playing on Friday night so it is a disruption. High school kids are creatures of habit and this breaks that habit.”
Valdin said the team also practiced much longer on Wednesday than they usually do, which “takes gas out of our tank.”
Hahnville and Jesuit are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. at Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park.
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