Hahnville seems to be peaking at just the right time. The Tigers strutted out to a 42-0 halftime lead over Huntington last week before dispatching the Raiders by a 56-8 score to advance to the second round of the 2007 Class 5A state playoffs.
Hahnville was near perfect in the contest, with consistent play from both the offense and the defense leading to the big win.
"I thought it was the best game we have played all season," Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin said. "It was a complete game on both sides of the ball."
Hahnville was able to score on their first five possessions, beginning with a 1-yard touchdown run from quarterback B.J. Young, who also completed 12 of his 13 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns. A blocked punt led to their second touchdown of the contest, with a nine-play, 94-yard drive stretching the lead to 21-0.
Jai Steib added two more scores in the second quarter, on runs of 6 and 1 yards, with Young officially putting the game out of reach on a 58-yard completion to speedster Ivory Washington.
The Tigers continued to pile it on from there, and shut down Huntington throughout the contest for the 56-8 win.
"We had great execution on offense and we made a lot of big plays on special teams," Valdin said. "That was the big thing, those plays on special teams allowed us to get in front early."
However, while the Tigers thoroughly dominated throughout the contest, they did lose running back Greg Julien for the remainder of the season to a broken leg.
"We just need to continue to get better," Valdin said. "We also need our younger guys to step up and fill in for some of our injured players."
Those players will have to step up fast with the team on the verge of playing 6th-seeded Archbishop Rummel, who eliminated 27th-seeded Thibodaux 34-14 last week.
Rummel is led by a powerful ground game that features Andrel and Jarrell Johnson. The two combined for 280 yards last week, with each player scoring two touchdowns.
The duo led Rummel to a 20-7 halftime lead, then wore down Thibodaux in the fourth, which allowed for a couple more scores.
It also doesn't help Hahnville that Rummel boast one of the top offensive lines in the state.
"They have a good offensive line, which might be the best we have seen all season, and they have two outstanding running backs," Valdin said. "They are a well-coached football team."
To counter that running game, Valdin says that his team must try to take an early lead and force Rummel out of their game plan.
"They are one of those teams, like Dutchtown, that don't like to throw the football," he said. "We're going to have to throw the football well in order to take an early lead and shut down their running game.
“We have to force them to throw."
And the Johnsons aren't Valdin's only concern. While the coach admits that playing away from home wont be too much of a problem for his talented squad, the movement of the game from Friday to Saturday could have an affect.
"I'm not worried about having to travel, but I am worried that the game is on Saturday," he said. "Our kids are used to going to school and then heading to the game, and this changes their routine."
While that is certaintly true, the way Hahnville has been playing lately, it wont matter what day they take the field.Questions? Comments? Story Ideas? Email Herald-Guide Editor Jonathan Menard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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It wasn't always pretty, but the Destrehan Wildcats managed to come through when it counted.
After a scoreless first quarter, the No. 1 ranked Wildcats allowed West Jefferson to stick around throughout the first three quarters before a 50-yard field goal by Ryan Rome gave Destrehan the momentum they needed to pull out a 37-12 win over the Bucs. That win assured the team of a playoff re-match with Carencro, who eliminated them last year.
"I thought we started out slow, but we were able to regroup in the second half," Destrehan head man Stephen Robicheaux said. "The most important thing is that we are still playing."
On a day when the No. 5 ranked team in 5A, Sulphur, lost in the first round, it was obvious that a higher seeding doesn't always translate into a cake-walk victory.
But Destrehan still looked like they were going to come away with an easy win after Jordan Jefferson hit Damaris Johnson in stride for what seemed to be a 68-yard touchdown pass.
After juking his way in and around Buc defenders, Johnson reached for the goal line, but ended up fumbling the ball away.
The tide turned for the Wildcats in the second when Joel Banks bullied his way into the end zone from 3 yards out to give his team their first lead of the contest. Antonio Parker followed with a 30-yard interception and Destrehan quickly found themselves up 13-0.
But the Bucs weren't going to go away quietly.
West Jefferson ended the half with an 80-yard scoring drive to cut into the Destrehan lead 13-6.
The Wildcats were able to turn another turnover into points when Darrow Barnes recovered a fumble and rambled 19 yards to stretch the margin to 20-6, but West Jefferson responded once again to trim to deficit to 20-12.
On Destrehan's next possession, Rome sailed a 50-yard field goal through the uprights, which energized his team and set the stage for 14 unanswered points by the Wildcats.
Though it was Rome's field goal that seemed to turn the tide, recent LSU signee Jefferson was near perfect in the win, connecting on 14 of his 16 pass attempts for 195 yards.
"Jordan had a real good night throwing the football," Robicheaux said. "Defensively, we had two scores, so we are excited about that."
And while Robicheaux was happy with the win, he wasn't completely pleased with the way his team performed.
"I was concerned with the way we came out early," Robicheaux said. "We need to have more consistency. The offense needs to get more consistent and the defense needs to get more consistent."
One thing that will stay consistent for the Wildcats is their ability to play at home throughout the playoffs. However, last year, that alone wasn't able to keep the team from falling to Carencro 35-28, which eliminated the Wildcats from the playoffs. This year, things will again be tough for Destrehan because of one reason; the Bears returning star running back Alonzo Landry.
Last week, Landry rushed for 303 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead Carencro to a 56-20 win over Brother Martin. In fact, Landry had a 51-yard touchdown called back because of a penalty.
It's that ability to run the football that allowed Carencro to overcome a three-game losing streak midway through the season to win a district title and earn a No. 16 seed in the playoffs.
Robicheaux knows that controlling Landry could be the difference in whether Destrehan's state title run continues or comes to an end Friday.
"We have to stop Landry," he said. "Last week he put up over 300 yards and he scored five touchdowns on us last year. We need to play with good technique and run to the football."