Heading into the season the Hahnville running game was supposed to be the strength of the offense, but the Tigers averaged a little more than 2-yards per carry in their 28-13 loss to Jesuit in the season opener.
|Hahnville quarterback Easton Melancon was forced to scramble out of the pocket several times against Jesuit, but still managed to complete 21 passes for 239 yards.
As the Tigers get ready for Friday’s home game against 4A Istrouma, head coach Lou Valdin knows that his squad must improve in that one area if they hope to make some noise this season.
"Ball security and running the football is the key to winning football games every week," he said. "If you have good field position and don’t turn the ball over, you are going to win 90 percent of high school football games."
While Hahnville’s three running backs, including Ernest Thompson, Travis Faucheaux and Mike Ford, combined to rush for only 68 yards on 32 carries against Jesuit, the Hahnville passing game was in top form.
Quarterback Easton Melancon connected on 21 of his 30 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns. Valdin said that the success of Hahnville’s passing game was encouraging, especially since the Tigers had struggled in that area in both their pre-season scrimmage and jamboree.
"Easton made good decisions and scrambled around and made things happen," Valdin said. "We hard a hard time throwing and catching in the jamboree while we ran the ball well. Now, we just have to get everything on the same page."
Valdin also praised his squad for not giving up after falling behind by 21 points. Instead, the Tigers responded by scoring two touchdowns to cut into the Jesuit lead, 21-13.
"I thought we played hard and didn’t quit," he said. "We got behind 21-0 and the guys never gave up and continued to play hard."
Hahnville’s defense played well in the first half against the Blue Jays, allowing only one touchdown. However, Valdin said that Jesuit’s running game wore down his squad as the game went on. Blue Jay running back Paul Stanton had 21 carries for 211 yards in the game and scored three touchdowns in the second half.
"The guys on defense got worn down because we couldn’t run the ball on offense so they were on the field for a long time," he said. "We played a lot of backups in the second half because our starters were getting tired and we had missed tackles and blown assignments."
The Tigers should be able to get back on track this Friday when they take on Istrouma at home at 7 p.m. The Indians went 1-9 last year and only return eight starters on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, Istrouma is led by running back Ron Clark, who started last season. The other backfield players, including quarterback Darius Jones, are first-year starters.
"They have two good tailbacks and a couple of tall receivers," Valdin said. "They don’t have a lot of players, but they are athletic."
Defensively, Istrouma is led by returning starters defensive end Thomas Singleton, linebacker Treyon Holmes and defensive back Javaris Washington.
"They have good speed and they run to the football on defense," Valdin said. "We are going to have to run the football and wear them down."
He added that Istrouma’s kicking game is suspect and that the Tigers should have a big advantage in that area.