Fresh off of his team’s jamboree matchup with Jesuit, coach Nick Saltaformaggio says his team’s Week One foe West Jefferson couldn’t be more different stylistically.
The Buccaneers are one of the area’s most athletic and aggressive teams under coach Cyril Crutchfield, now in his third season as the team’s head coach. Unlike Jesuit’s run-first, bowl-you-over method of attack, West Jefferson takes to the air early and often behind the arm of quarterback Wallace Lucs, and will be hunting big plays as it travels to Tiger Stadium in Boutte Friday night.
“You look at what they do, their ratio is about 67 (percent) pass and 33 run,” Saltaformaggio said. “They’re gonna throw the ball. (Lucs) is a big, tall, tough kid. And his receivers are long and athletic.”
Likewise, while Jesuit’s style of defense prioritizes keeping the action in front of its defenders and not getting beat deep, West Jefferson plays an in your face, pressure-heavy defense that sees eight or even nine defenders on the line of scrimmage routinely. That will provide an early test for Hahnville quarterback Jha’quan Jackson, who will be making his first official start, and the Tigers’ offensive line.
To take the pressure off, Saltaformaggio said there’s no secret to what his team has to do: run the football and run it well, particularly on a night that very well could yield wet conditions.
“The one thing that worries me is this is a team that can line up with players who can run as fast as Anthony (Williams) can run,” said Saltaformaggio, speaking of his standout running back. “What we have to do is really seal the interior part of the line of scrimmage and get some push.
We have to control the line. When you get that many guys in the box, and you know they’ll be trying to take the perimeter run away from you, we have to handle the interior. If we’re in a situation where we have to throw 22 times, we’ll have problems.”
West Jefferson fell in its jamboree last week to Karr, 29-13. His top targets are wide receivers Shiloh Childs and Malik Hill, the latter a big downfield target standing at 6-foot-3.
“They’re that typical Westbank Jefferson Parish football team … big bodies, size up front and a lot of speed,” Saltaformaggio said. “Cyril Crutchfield is a very good coach. They’ll present problems.”
Starting the season with a win always carries importance, but given the start to Hahnville’s schedule this season, perhaps that’s as true it ever has been. Hahnville travels to John Ehret, hosts Brother Martin and visits Destrehan in the following three weeks.
Hahnville played Jesuit to a stalemate in their jamboree meeting at Hahnville last week, but Williams stole the show in a spectacular effort.
Williams tallied 215 yards from scrimmage in the 30 minute exhibition as the Tigers and Blue Jays ended the night tied 14-14.
The senior rusher needed just 11 touches to break the 200 yard barrier, as he tallied 155 yards on 10 carries and hauled in a 60-yard touchdown.
“If every kid on our football team played with same effort 7 (Williams) plays with, we’d be unstoppable,” Saltaformaggio said. “It makes him unique. Not only having that talent, but he plays with unbelievable effort and it really sets tone for what we’re trying to do.”
Saltaformaggio stayed true to his vow that this Hahnville team would be the most run-heavy of his tenure, which began in 2014. Hahnville quarterback Jha’quan Jackson attempted only three passes, completing two for 63 yards and a touchdown. Jackson made an impact with his legs, rushing 10 times for 49 yards.
The Tigers trailed in the first half 7-0 before Dylan Dejean recovered a Blue Jays fumble deep in Hahnville territory to stop Jesuit from extending its lead. The Tigers tied the game three plays later on a 70-yard Williams scamper.
Jesuit led 14-7 late in the game, but with just under a minute left, Jackson dialed up Williams on a 60 yard scoring pass to tie the game.
Willie Robinson and Noah Varnado scored touchdowns for Jesuit, the latter on a 20-yard pass from Alex Watermeier.