The Hahnville offense put together its best game of the season last Friday, rolling up 469 yards on their way to a 58-37 victory over McDonogh 35 - and head coach Lou Valdin couldn't be happier.
"I was thrilled to death," he said. "I was particularly pleased with the running game and the offensive line opened up some really big holes. That's the first time all year that our line has dominated like that."
The Tigers and the Roneagles combined for 53 points in the first quarter and both offenses continued to light up the scoreboard throughout the rest of the contest. But Hahnville's defense made a few big plays when it counted in the second and third quarters, which proved to be the difference in the 57-38 Tiger win.
"When our defense was on the field, they did pretty good," Valdin said. "The problem was that we gave up two long kickoff returns and one of their backs was able to get outside on us, so we are working on that this week."
In what would prove to be a video game like first quarter, the Tigers struck first on a 53-yard pass from Easton Melancon to Jaylon Bryant that put Hahnville up 7-0 with 9:44 left in the first quarter.
But only seconds later, McDonogh 35 would take the lead on a 95-yard kick off return by Kedric Banks. Carlos Henderson scored a two-point conversion to give the Roneagles an 8-7 lead.
Hahnville looked like they were building momentum a few minutes later when Ernest Thompson scored on an 11-yard run. The Tiger defense held the Roneagles at bay on their next possession and forced a punt from deep within McDonogh 35 territory. Because of a bad snap on that punt attempt, the Tigers would record a safety and take a 16-8 lead with 5:41 left in the quarter.
Hahnville running back Travis Faucheaux increased the Tiger lead to 22-8 on a 23-yard scamper and it looked like the Tigers were about to put the Roneagles away early. But McDonogh 35 scored less than a minute later on a 79-yard run by Henderson that cut the Hahnville lead to 22-16.
The Tigers took nearly three minutes off the clock on their next possession, which ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Melancon to Mike Ford. That put the Tigers up 28-16 with 1:18 left.
But that was plenty of time for the Roneagles. Henderson returned the kickoff 82 yards and then scored on a 4-yard run. The speedster then walked into the end zone for the two-point conversion, which cut the Hahnville lead to 29-24.
In the second quarter though, the Tigers started to establish themselves.
Faucheaux scored his second touchdown on a 4-yard run and Melancon added another touchdown pass, this time a 9-yard strike to Kailon Carter, to put Hahnville up 43-24 heading into halftime.
The Tigers officially put the game away in the third, recovering an onsides kick and driving 49 yards to go on top 50-24.
The Tigers (2-3) enter district play this week against undefeated Bonnabel (4-0). The Bruins have wins over Clark, West St. John, St. Thomas Aquinas and John McDonogh. They have given up only 9 points this season and return 18 starters from last year's squad.
Bonnabel uses a two-quarterback system with seniors Roy Bauer and Ryan Evans. Evans is more of a running threat who also plays receiver, running back and serves as a return specialist.
"Because they have a two-quarterback system we have to prepare for two offenses," Valdin said. "One of their quarterbacks runs a lot of option plays and play action. The other runs a lot of power stuff and throws the ball downfield."
Valdin said that his defense has given up a lot of big plays this season, but that was because the offense was struggling and the Tigers tried to be more aggressive by playing man coverage and blitzing a lot.
"Now that our offense is clicking a little bit better, we can afford to sit back and bleed slower," he said.
On defense, the Bruins are led by defensive end Mitchell Ruffin, linebacker Matt LaBeaux and cornerback Arthur Maulet.
"They have really good players (on defense), but they play one defense," Valdin said. "They play it well, but we know where they are going to line up. It's not like facing Lutcher, which had multiple looks."
Valdin said his team will have to attack Bonnabel by successfully running the football to set up the play action pass.
"When the run game is working, we are able to drop back and throw the ball because they know we don't have to," Valdin said. "But we have to stay out of third and long."
Though the game is not exactly a must win, Valdin said that it's always important to get a victory in the first district game.
"We want to peak now. We want to be at our best for our first district ball game," he said. "After Friday night, half of the teams in the league will have one loss and I would like for us to be on top."
Hahnville host Bonnabel at 7 p.m. on Oct. 7.
|Jonathan Menard/Herald Guide|
|Hahnville running back Travis Faucheaux is trailed by fellow running back Ernest Thompson as he carries the ball downfield.|