Hahnville was clicking in all phases of the game during last week's 55-14 rout of John McDonogh, scoring 35 points in the first quarter alone to help the team remain undefeated on the season.
Now comes the Tigers' biggest test of the year, having to grab their first district win from the claws of the Destrehan Wildcats.
"We always want to peak for our first district game, regardless of who it is," Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin said. "Now, the fact that it's Destrehan makes it big because they are the No. 1 ranked team in the area and they are probably the most talented team in the state. I've seen Bastrop on film, I've seen Curtis on film, and I've seen Shaw on film, and Destrehan is better than all of them."
While there is no doubt that Destrehan is loaded with talent at all positions this season, Hahnville has also been impressive during their first five contest. Quarterback B.J. Young led his team to the win, completing all seven of his passes for five touchdowns. He finished with 140 yards on the night.
"We improved in ball security and we had less penalties," Valdin said. "Our run blocking has improved every week and our pass protection has improved every week. Obviously, the quarterback played well because you can't be better than perfect."
Laron Byrd caught two of Young's touchdown passes, while Greg Julien and Jai Steib tore up yardage on the ground. Julien finished with two touchdowns to go with his 110 yards, while Steib scored once and racked up 64 yards.
"We executed well and didn't turn the ball over," Valdin said. "I was happy with that."
It's likely that Hahnville will have to continue to play mistake-free football if they hope to leave Destrehan with a win Friday night. The Wildcats, who are coming off of a 30-14 win over John Ehret, are stocked with playmakers on offense while also possessing a powerful defensive unit. Combine that with a kicker (Ryan Rome) who can boot the ball deep into the endzone on every kickoff and its understandable how some can consider Destrehan the best team in the state.
"I think that's a major strength for them that everyone has to go 80-yards against them, and their defense is better than advertised," Valdin said. "There are not a whole lot of people who have scored on their first team defense. Their offense gets all the pub just because they have the most college prospects, but they are the total package."
Another strength is Destrehan's inability to make costly mistakes.
"They don't beat themselves with drive-killing penalties," Valdin said. "You don't see offsides, you don't see holding, you don't see any of that kind of stuff. They don't beat themselves."
And its that side of the game, the football side, which concerns Valdin the most.
"Obviously it's a big deal in the community because its an intra-parish rivalry, the kids know each other, and it's a big deal between the two schools," he said. "In the community, it's a big deal, but from a football standpoint, it's our next game and our first district game."
Because of that, the keys to victory are simple.
"Don't let Hahnville beat Hahnville," Valdin said. "I don't know if we are good enough to beat Destrehan, but I know we're not if we beat ourselves."
|Photo by Jonathan Menard|
|Both Destrehan and Hahnville enter Friday nightís contest with 5-0 records, which should set the stage for a dramatic showdown between the two schools as they enter district play. Photos by Jonathan Menard.|