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Saints aren't perfect but they can still make the playoffs, says Mike
Keep the faith, folks, we're talking about the best N.O. team in years
Mike Detillier -   Oct 05, 2006

Hahnville High School's Coach Valdin gets drenched with water after his 100th victory.
Photo: Claude Adams
Hahnville High School's Coach Valdin gets drenched with water after his 100th victory.

Everyone following the wild football odyssey of the New Orleans Saints knew winning times would come to an end - very few clubs go undefeated in the NFL these days. But even in defeat, you have to admit our guys were impressive.

Despite going down to the Carolina Panthers 21-18 in an away game at Charlotte, the Saints played very tough against a first-class opponent.

The difference between the loss to Charlotte and the Saints' previous three victories is that in winning, we set the tone offensively by establishing a strong running game, and, defensively we shut down our opponents' running game.

That didn't happen against the Panthers.

The Panthers' running combo of DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams rushed for 167 yards total, and the Saints rushing game totaled a scant 63 yards.

Despite an impressive passing performance by Drew Brees, the Saints offensive line could not open up good running lanes for Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush.

Nor could they figure out a way to block Panther All-Pro defensive end Julius Peppers - and that is where the game was won and lost.

There is no doubt that the Panthers are a good football team, and if All-Pro end Steve Smith is healthy, one capable of making a run to the Super Bowl.

And let's face it: the Saints went toe to toe with a team that went to the 2005 NFC Championship game and came up just a tad short and then were all but forgotten in the wake of songbird Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" that exposed her breast during the infamous half-time show.

Loss to the Panthers aside, the Saints are a good football team - one that could well compete for a playoff berth at year's end.

Right now they are football's version of "Rocky" and getting in a lot of knockout shots to opponents, even in defeat.

You would have never thought we would be doing that before the season started.

Hahnville faces state's best players at East St. John

When Lou Valdin's Hahnville Tigers take on East St. John High School this coming Friday they will face-up against two of the top players in the State of Louisiana in running back Johnny Owens and safety/linebacker Stefoin Francois.

College coaches have flooded the East St. John High School campus to watch the exploits of the speedy halfback in Owens and the tough, hardnosed open field tackling of Francois.

Owens, who last week rushed for 190 yards and scored four touchdowns against O.P. Walker High School, is being heavily courted by Ole Miss, Memphis, UCLA and Texas A&M.

Francois, a 6-0, 195 pound defensive playmaker, is considered one of the top 10 prospects in the state and he is being pursued by LSU, Alabama, Florida and Florida State.

Congratulations Coach Lou for winning your 100th career victory and we all hope many more are on the way for you at Hahnville.

LSU versus Florida

THE game to watch

This coming Saturday the 9th-ranked LSU Tigers will play in one of the feature games of the day when they travel to Gainesville, Florida to play the 5th-ranked Florida Gators.

The Tigers had little trouble disposing the Mississippi State Bulldogs 48-17 as a warmup to Florida, and one thing is becoming clear: for all the talk about how good the LSU defense is (and it is impressive) the Tigers have a budding offensive superstar in quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

Russell, a 6-5, 260-pound giant of a kid, completed 18 of his 20 throws against the Bulldogs for a career-best 330 yards, a school record 14 consecutive completions and three touchdowns.

Despite the lack of a consistent running game, Russell has continued to play at a very high level and so far this season he has thrown 10 touchdown passes and just one interception. Seventy percent his throws have been completions.

Everybody seems to think Florida senior quarterback Chris Leak and highly touted freshman flame-thrower Tim Tebow are the game-breakers, but Jamarcus R. will be the difference-maker against the Gators - and win this game for LSU.

Skeptical? Just remember that in the 22 games he has started for the Tigers, he's put a "W" up on the board 18 times. You gotta like those odds!

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