‘Nemesis’ John Ehret visits Boutte to take on Hahnville

Hahnville's Darryle Evans finds open field in last week's victory at West Jefferson.

Last two matchups between teams were slugfests

John Ehret has been a thorn in the side of the Hahnville Tigers over the past few seasons.

In 2016, it was Ehret visiting Boutte for a second round playoff matchup and eliminating a Tigers team with high postseason hopes via a 35-28 victory.

Then in Week 2 of last season, the Patriots hosted the Tigers for one of the wildest games of the prep slate last season, outlasting Hahnville in a 46-41 shootout that saw Ehret return two kicks for touchdowns and notch a 70-yard score on an offensive fumble recovery.

“It’s been a bit of a rivalry, but really they’ve also been a bit of a nemesis for us,” said Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio.

The Tigers host the Patriots this week in a game that was scheduled to be played Friday night at 7 p.m. as of press time. However, weather this week related to Tropical Storm Gordon had the potential to shift the game to Saturday.

Whenever it ends up being played, Saltaformaggio said the game serves as a valuable measuring stick for his team at this point of the season. Ehret will go on to play Destrehan next week, just as was the case last season, giving the two teams a common opponent with the annual DHS/HHS showdown looming in Week 4.

Saltaformaggio also called this week’s fare  a “throwback” kind of matchup.

“Figuratively speaking, it’s an exchange of punches and you’re looking for the team that manages to not get knocked out early and continue to battle in the fourth quarter,” Saltaformaggio said. “At that point, it comes down to a turnover here, a long field, a bad punt … something like is gonna turn the game late.”

Ehret head coach Marcus Scott, who was Destrehan’s defensive coordinator last season, is quite familiar with Hahnville and with Saltaformaggio — Scott is also the former head coach of West Jefferson and was there during Saltaformaggio’s run at East Jefferson.

Scott has a team with big game experience at his disposal, led by a talented veteran quarterback in senior Travis Mumphrey.

“It feels like he’s been playing high school football forever, and it’s a credit to how great a player he is,” Saltaformaggio said. “People have known about him over the past four years. They go as he goes. When the ball is in his hands, he’s dynamic. The more your best player has the ball, the more chances there is that something good will happen.”

Mumphrey has some big play threats downfield and Saltaformaggio said his defense must be vigilant of staying within their scheme. Any spell of undisciplined play can be victimized by Mumphrey’s scrambling ability and big arm.

“We’ve gotta understand that you can’t come out of coverages on a scramble play, because you’re not gonna come up 25 yards and stop him,” Saltaformaggio said. “And if you try, he’s going deep. We’re gonna have to do a good job with our inside second level drop because if we get too wide, he’ll tuck and run for big numbers.

“We’ve had our hands full for three years. This won’t be any different.”

Ehret also has a pair of Division I commitments in the defensive front seven, inside linebacker Donte Starks and defensive end Earl Barquet.

HAHNVILLE 45, WEST JEFFERSON 0 — It wasn’t about eligibility hearings, suspensions or controversy Friday night when Hahnville took the field at Hoss Memstas Stadium in Harvey for their season opening game against West Jefferson. It was simply about Hahnville showing it’s still Hahnville.

The Tigers did that by virtue of their dominating 45-0 victory over the Buccaneers, a night where Hahnville used a familiar recipe to dismantle its foe: suffocating defense and a powerful running game.

Mike Silva, Hahnville’s interim head coach while HHS coach Nick Saltaformaggio serves a four-game suspension, said that after  weeks of distraction, it was simply time to get down to business.

“High school football is still about high school kids,” Silva said. “Once they get out here on the field, whether it’s at Hahnville or here at West Jefferson, they get to play football. All of their cares go away and they get to do what they love to do. I’m glad they had a good time tonight, because I know I had a great time.”

Hahnville’s offense struggled in preseason fare, but it took the ball on its opening drive and marched in for a score, courtesy of a short Darryle Evans touchdown run. That was set up by an explosive run by Jha’Quan Jackson, re-installed as the starting quarterback after quarterback Andrew Robison was declared ineligible by the LHSAA. Jackson had moved to wide receiver in the spring.

“It gave us faith and hope,” Jackson said of the opening drive. “That we weren’t gonna let it all affect us … it feels great.”

After Ryan Barbier recovered a blocked punt for Hahnville, the Tigers began their next drive on West Jefferson’s 9-yard line. Brandon Comardelle quickly punched in a 4-yard score to make it 14-0.

The Tigers’ defense got in on the scoring next when Alijah Hamilton intercepted a pass cleanly and took it down the sideline for a pick-six touchdown with 9:39 left in the first half.

It was another interception that helped push Hahnville’s advantage to 28-0. Robert Jackson’s pickoff set up a second Comardelle touchdown, this one with 5:10 left in the third quarter.

Ethan Chacon added a fourth quarter field goal before touchdown runs by Jace Myers and Dominique Curley rounded out the Hahnville (1-0) scoring and put West Jefferson (0-1) away.

Jackson said when he was playing receiver, there were times he missed playing quarterback. Ultimately, he said he was happy to make the move back because it’s what the team needed him to do.

“When Coach asks me to do something, I’m not gonna question it,” Jackson said. “It’s ‘yes sir.’ I’m just a guy who’ll do anything I have to … wide receiver, cornerback, invert, tight end, I don’t care. If they ask me to, I’ll do it.”

Silva called the offense a work in progress, noting Jackson still has taken very few snaps, relatively, at quarterback since last year’s Class 5A championship game.

“He’s capable of throwing the ball, but we have to give him some chances to,” Silva said. “They were bringing nine and 10 guys to the line tonight and we had some opportunities, but when you’re up 21-0, you’re trying to grind the clock down and get out with a win.”

The defense played as advertised.

“They bailed us out a couple times,” Silva said. “We struggled for stretches here or there and they get a pick and put us on a short field. Driving it 30 yards is a lot easier than going 70.”

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