St. Charles Herald-Guide

Hahnville running game key to win

By Jonathan Menard - September 6, 2007

The Hahnville defense proved to be too much for McDonogh 35 to handle last week, leading the Tigers to a 21-0 shutout win to open up the 2007 season.

And while coaches will take those victories when they can get them, Hahnville head man Lou Valdin felt his team let the Roneagles hang around much longer than they should have.

"I thought the defense played very well," Valdin said. "Offensively, we moved the ball well at times, but we blew some great opportunities to put the game away in the first half."

Though the Tigers were still able to cruise to a win despite those missed opportunities, Hahnville will need all the points they can get Friday night when they host Istrouma, who suffered a 30-0 loss to defending 4A state champion Bastrop in their first contest of the season.

"They are very big and their offensive and defensive lines are as big as any we are going to see this year," Valdin said. "They have incredible speed, a running back that is exceptional, and a receiver that is as good as any receiver we will see. They also have a couple of big defensive lineman that are real fast off the edge."

To counter that team speed, Hahnville will need a solid game from every single player on offense. Last week, first year starter B.J. Young was more than impressive in his debut, connecting on 20 of his 26 pass attempts for 182 yards and two touchdowns. The Tigers also accounted for another 92 yards on the ground on 30 carries. The defense, which held McDonogh to only 80 total yards on 52 plays, will also have to step up once again to keep the Istrouma playmakers from taking over the game.

"I thought our protection was good and I thought the quarterback played pretty well considering it was his first full varsity game," Valdin said. "Defensively, I thought our secondary coverage was good, I thought our pass rush was good, as was our defense against the run. We did a good job of tackling."

However, Valdin says that his team will need to rely on their ground attack to chew up the clock in order for the Tigers to improve to 2-0 on the season.

"We need to run the football," he said. "Istrouma's best athletes are on offense so we are going to have to run the ball, control the clock, and keep them off the field. We need to sustain long drives without having drive-killing penalties.

"They are probably a lot faster than us and have better team speed, so we have to shorten the game and limit their possessions."

Hahnville will also have to make the most of those possessions by avoiding costly penalties on the offensive side of the ball. In their opening season win, a couple of holding penalties made it difficult for the Tigers to really gain much momentum.

"The penalty situation wasn't that bad last week, except that we had a couple drive-killing penalties," Valdin said. "I was disappointed in the blocking of the wide receivers because they got called a couple of times for holding, which negated some big runs."

Another potential problem is that while Istrouma's strengths are well documented, finding their weaknesses has proven to be a problem.

"It's hard to tell any weaknesses because of the quality of competition they played," Valdin said. "I mean, they played Bastrop, who might be the best team in the state. Bastrop makes everybody look bad."

After gaining plenty of experience last week though, expect this young Hahnville squad to have no problem exposing them soon enough.

Hahnville running game key to win
Photo by Jonathan Menard