Last year, Hahnville destroyed Destrehan 48-10, giving the Tigers their first win over their rivals since 2004. This year, Hahnville is once again picked by many to knock off the Wildcats, mainly due to the experience the Tigers field at almost every position.
Calling Hahnville a senior-laden squad is not an understatement. On offense, the Tigers are led by senior quarterback Brian Ensminger, who had a field day against Destrehan last year by connecting on 15 of his 17 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
Backfield mate Ahmad White, also a senior, has driven the Tiger offense this season, rushing for at least 100 yards in every game. Hahnville's top two receivers, Dontrell Strickland and Derek Howard, are also seniors and are each capable of making a big play at any point in the game.
Three out of the five Tiger offensive lineman are seniors, including big Alvin Kelly (6'3, 365), Alex Brown and Cole Walker. The group has paved the way for White this season, while also providing adequate protection for Ensminger.
But the experience doesn't stop there. On defense, which is the strength of this year's team, the Tigers get steady contribution from several important seniors.
Jordan Thompson, Eric Simpson, and Jontrell Lockett all lead the way on the defensive line and have managed to get continual pressure on opposing quarterbacks while also shutting down the running lanes.
Then you have the linebacking corps, which is made up exclusively of seniors. Ben Taylor, Brody Bourg, Treval Dunmiles and Linzell Rhodes have played together for years, which is evident by the way the group works together.
Because of their experience, Hahnville is able to blitz effectively, while also providing a second line of protection for the defensive line.
And when the balls in the air, the linebackers all have enough speed to get back in protection and make the big play.
The Tigers kicker, Austin Fremen, is also a senior.
Meanwhile, Destrehan is the complete opposite in terms of experience, and the team has relied on a steady contribution from several young players this year.
Leading that group is sophomore quarterback Dillan Dent, who was thrust into action two weeks ago due to a suspension. Dent has made some big plays with his feet for the Wildcats, and when his arm strength catches up to his athletic ability, he will be a dangerous weapon for Destrehan.
In the backfield, the Wildcats have also had to play with inexperience. Last year’s starter, junior Kevin Smith, has spent most of the season dealing with an injury. Junior Mark Trudeaux and sophomore Lou Donovan Wells have stepped up in his place and have both played extremely well at times.
While Destrehan has an experienced offensive line, which includes seniors Ethan Hutson, Matt Gifford, Dustin Trahan and Gino Saltaformagio, one of the key players is junior Ladell Wills. Wills could be starting for the Wildcats as nose guard, but made the unselfish decision to help his team by playing on the offensive line.
One of the Wildcats top offensive weapons is also a sophomore. Rickey Jefferson, the brother of LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson, has come up big for his team in almost every game. Jefferson is a great kickoff and punt returner, who has already brought two back to the house. He is extremely dangerous when given the ball in space on offense.
On defense, the Wildcats are loaded with junior playmakers.
The most important two are defensive linemen Bryan Singleton and Marrick Charles. Both players possess the size and strength to power through offensive lines, but also have the quickness to get around the corner and chase down the quarterback.
Because of Charles and Singleton, the Wildcats have been extremely successful against the run.
Another key contributor is junior Zach Agurcia, who with senior star Tarquin Kenner, gives Destrehan an extremely physical linebacking corps.
And then you have junior Spencer Bentley, who is starting at free safety after playing in a couple games as a cornerback last season.