The Hahnville High School football Tigers have been struggling to regain control of their season after a string of heartbreaking losses, and let's face it, folks - things aren't going to get any easier with unbeaten Destrehan and always-tough Assumption on tap over the next two "do-or-die" weeks.
The Tigers - 5-3 overall and 0-3 in district play as they wind up the year - face the 5-A District's top-ranked team in their undefeated and offensively explosive River Parish arch-rival, the Destrehan High School Wildcats.
Destrehan averages a whopping 35 points per game despite having lost starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson to a broken wrist against Assumption.
Wildcat coach Steve Robicheaux has done a masterful job spreading the ball around to wide receivers Edwin Reed and Damaris Johnson, game-breakers who would be considered "impact players" on any team in the state.
The Wildcats also hold the state's top "power-rating" number in 5-A football with a 15.63. By comparision, Hahnville slipped from tenth place to nineteenth in the power-ratings numbers after their loss to John Ehret.
After Destrehan, the Tigers who are 0-3 in district play will play Assumption High School, which rated fifteenth in the state in this week's power-rating system in the final week of the regular season.
OT loss to John Ehret was a heartbreaker
It took longer than four quarters for John Ehret High School to defeat the Hahnville Tigers 16-13 in overtime, but the tone was set early in the game when the massive Patriot offensive and defensive lines took control on both sides of the ball.
"We knew that Hahnville had excellent players and we had to control the clock to win the game," says John Ehret head coach Billy North.
"Even after we jumped out to a 13-0 lead, we knew the Tigers would fight hard to get back into the contest, and that's exactly what they did.
"Our guys dug down deep late in the game, and we won in a squeaker, but in this district, any win is a huge win."
Patriots' senior-halfback Joseph Accelus gave the Tigers a steady pounding, rushing for 162 yards on 29 carries, while quarterback Rico Jones rushed for 55 additional yards and one touchdown on 17 carries. He threw a TD pass to Eric Harper as well.
Despite John Ehret's early dominance, the Tigers battled back valiantly to score a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to tie the game at 13-13.
But when Ehret's special teams unit blocked the extra point attempt by Hahnville's Brandon Laroussee with less than 30 seconds left on the clock, instead of heading to the locker room victorious, the Tigers found themselves back on the field - with the ball, after winning a coin toss - in overtime.
Too bad Ehret senior cornerback Clarence Ussin intercepted an Hahnville QB Early James' throw in the end zone to stop a Tiger touchdown and set-up the winning field goal.
The Patriots had one short run and pass incompletions before kicker Corey Matherne sealed the game with a 20-yard field goal.
Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin was proud of his team's fight in the second half to tie the game, but acknowledged that the Patriots' great size was too much to overcome.
"They were just bigger than us - they wore us down," says Valdin. "In the first half they ran the football up and down the field at will, and we only touched the ball offensively 10 times.
"You can't get much started with those numbers."
|JOHN EHRETíS defensive line put pressure on HHS quarterback Early James throughout the game.|