With a blanket of mist hanging over the field for the entire night the Hahnville Tigers slipped and slided their way on rain sodden turf to a season opening victory against the Salmen Spartans.
Although the Spartans had home field advantage and are coming off a 9-2 district championship campaign, they could not get their footing all night and were plagued by ball control problems in a 13-7 loss.
Both teams got off to a slow start with back-to-back three and outs, but Hahnville picked up the tempo and scored on their third drive with senior running back Lynn Simmons getting the initial first down of the series followed by three big runs by senior quarterback Dylan Keller, including a three yard quarterback keeper for the touchdown.
Keller lived up to his billing by Hahnville Head Coach Lou Valdin as serving as more of a third running back than a traditional quarterback. With 20 plus carries on the night Keller racked up the yards, but also took quite a few hits and went down at the end of the second half. He was replaced for one play by senior quarterback Logan Martindale who was sacked as time expired.
After the defense stopped Salmen cold on the first drive of the second half, the Spartan punter fumbled the snap and was tackled on the seven yard line where Hahnville’s offense took over. Keller came back in the game and in three successive runs had a six yard gain, fumbled the ball forward to the one inch line before recovering it and on third down took a quarterback sneak in to make the score 13-0 after Craig Ford’s point after attempt was blocked.
Although he had few double digit gains, Keller slowly picked away at Salmen’s defense most of the night getting a few yards at a time and first downs along the way off the option or in scrambling situations.
It was senior running backs Lynn Simmons and Todge Scott who saw the most success on the ground. Simmons had numerous first downs and broke a couple of runs for 20 plus yards. Although he too was shaken up on a play at the end of the second quarter he would return for the second half.
Scott had the longest run on the night with a 45 yard carry the set up a 31 yard field goal attempt Ford could not convert. Scott also picked up a first down on a swing pass in the third quarter.
For all of their success on the ground Hahnville only had a few completed passes. Although Keller dropped back on a number of occasions he was quick to tuck the ball and scramble instead of sticking in the pocket and trying to find an open receiver. Still, both junior wide receiver Brandon Singleton and senior wide receiver Ricky Preston had a reception apiece.
Lack of ball control ravaged both teams with quarterbacks, running backs and return men fumbling numerous times. Salmen’s only touchdown came from a return off a Jyrus Evans fumble in the fourth quarter.
However, that would be Salmen’s only luck of the night. With sophomore Ivan Price at quarterback for the first time the Spartans had continual trouble with bad snaps out of the shotgun. Numerous snaps hit the ground while a few others sailed over Price’s head pinning Salmen’s offense back.
In addition to the Spartans’ ball handling missteps, Hahnville’s defense dominated the night and only gave up a few long plays to senior halfback Chris Thomas, who was considered the Spartans’ biggest threat coming into the game.
Senior linebacker Dequante’ Taylor in particular had a number of tackles for losses and senior defensive lineman Shaun Benson came up with a big sack in the fourth quarter.
After missteps throughout the night Salmen kept up the snafus in their last drive of the game that ended with a fumbled snap, a swing pass that was fumbled for a five yard loss and another fumbled snap on third down before they punted the ball away with 3:45 left in the game.
Hahnville would hang onto the ball for the remainder of the game and run the clock out after Simmons picked up a 25 yard gain and Salmen exhausted their timeouts.
Hanhville next takes on Rummel at home at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13.
|Shaun Benson wraps up Salmen quarterback Ivan Price for a sack.|