The Hahnville Tigers will travel to Pan American Stadium in City Park in New Orleans to face off against the St. Augustine Purple Knights on Friday night.
Both teams are coming off of losses last week.
St. Augustine is 2-1 on the season and last week were routed by Archbishop Rummel 42-14. In that game, the Purple Knight’s star running back Leonard Fournette gained 88 yards on the ground with one touchdown coming on a 60-yard run. Fournette also added 50 yards on two receptions.
Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin said the key to Hahnville’s game will be limiting Fournette’s role.
"He’s one of the best backs in the country. He’s about 225 pounds and 6’3" and he can fly," Valdin said. "We’re going to try and get bodies on him."
Fournette received a scholarship offer from LSU when he was just a freshman. Now a junior, he holds offers from every major program in the country.
Valdin said the Tigers will also have to watch out for the Purple Knight’s passing attack.
Last week, St. Augustine quarterback Toi Jackson passed for 166 yards with a touchdown and added 62 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown, but threw an interception that went 97 yards the other way for a score.
Valdin said they will have to watch out for one receiver in particular on the opposition.
"They have a basketball guy, like a 6’8 receiver," Valdin said. "When they get down in the red zone that’s what they do–throw to him."
Valdin said St. Augustine is a formidable opponent.
"They are a well coached football team. They blitz on defense like crazy. They spread you out and throw the football. They spread you out and then they got that running back they run on you," Valdin said. "We have to play absolutely the best if we possibly can have a chance."
Valdin said he was impressed by his defensive’s play against Lutcher last week where they racked up seven sacks. He is hoping for a similar effort this week.
"I’d like to be able to get to them. I’d like to do it with a four man rush so we can defend the pass," Valdin said. "I think we’ll be able to get a pass rush. I’m a little concerned if they try to hammer the ball. We’re not big up front–we’re built for speed."
Hahnville’s run defense has suffered in their first two games of the season and they have been burnt again and again on one play in particular–the quarterback draw.
"We are probably going to have to play a little more zone to have more eyes on the quarterback," Valdin said.
Hahnville at 0-2 is coming off a stunning loss last week to the Lutcher Bulldog’s. In that loss, the team made numerous mistakes in the fourth quarter that extended scoring drives for the Bulldogs.
"The biggest things are the turnovers. If you turn the ball over in high school football you are going to lose," Valdin said.
Starting running back Lynn Simmons had four fumbles on the night.
"I don’t think he had a fumble problem, he was fighting for extra yards," Valdin said. "I just told him it is better to go down than fight for extra yards."
Quarterback Easton Melancon threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns and connected on a few passes on a comeback attempt with less than a minute left before his final pass of the game bounced out the hands of a Hahnville receiver and was picked off.
Despite that performance and Simmons’s fumbles, Valdin said his team is changing tact this week to try and keep Fournette off the field.
"We ain’t throwing the ball this week," Valdin said. "We are going to run the ball and shorten the game."
Valdin said in addition to Simmons again taking the lead in carrying the ball, he will be rotating in Todge Scott and backup quarterback Dylan Keller at the running back spot as well as adding touches by fullback Cody Morales.
"All we can do is what we can do. We can’t control how good the other team is or the official’s calls," Valdin said. "The only thing we can control is how hard we play and how hard we compete."