Depth is a concern for Tigers

Before last week’s spring game, Hahnville and Rummel faced off in the Class 5A state quarterfinals. Rummel won the game, 24-7, setting the stage for a physical spring game.

But coach pleased with offensive, defensive execution

Though the Rummel Raiders outscored Hahnville 14-7 in last week’s spring game, Tiger head coach Lou Valdin saw plenty of positives from both his offense and defense. In fact, Valdin feels his team is further along after this spring than they have been in the past.

“Right now, we know who our starters are heading into next season, which is a big plus,” he said. “We won’t have to go into our first game with positions to fill.”

But if there was one problem that plagued the Tigers, it was their depth. After center Alex Brown was forced out of the game due to a knee injury, Hahnville had trouble moving the ball on offense.

“Once they realized our center was down, they blitzed like maniacs,” Valdin said. “We couldn’t get in the shotgun and that took away a lot of our offense.

“Basically, we don’t have a lot of depth and because of that the JV games are going to be important next year. We are going to have to stay healthy next season.”

While Valdin will have to focus on finding players to fill some key backup roles, his starters looked good early on last week. Hahnville quarterback Brian Ensminger found receiver Derek Howard for several nice gains before Ensminger fired a 15-yard touchdown pass to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead on their opening drive.

“I thought our starters did a good job of executing our offense,” Valdin said. “We were picking up the blitz early on and both the running and passing game were working well.”

When Rummel’s offense took the field, the Tiger defense stepped up by shuttering the Raiders running game and forcing an interception.

“On defense, we were really good against the run,” Valdin said. “You never know what another team is going to try in the spring game, but we went into the game with the goal of stopping their I-formation running game, and we were able to do that.”

Rummel’s defense began getting pressure on Ensminger the second time Hahnville had the ball, but the quick-footed quarterback was able to scramble down the field and connect on some passes. However, the drive stalled after a fumble deep in Rummel territory.

That was the last time the Tigers would threaten to score.

Rummel backup quarterback Damian Williams, who will be a sophomore next season, breathed new life into the Raiders offense. Williams’ athleticism gave the Tigers trouble and he was able to complete some nice passes after buying time for his receivers by scrambling around the Hahnville defense. His final throw of the drive was a 20-yard touchdown that tied the game.

“We do have to work more at our pass rush,” Valdin said. “All of Rummel’s big plays came when their quarterback was scrambling around until someone got open.”

In the next series for the starters, Hahnville’s offense was unable to move the ball effectively because of Brown’s injury. When the Raiders took possession, a 65-yard pass by  Luke Cartozzo set up Rummel’s final score of the game.

But Valdin, who has repeatedly said he cares little about the score when it comes to spring games, was pleased with how his team has performed throughout the past month.

“We got a lot of work in and we did a good job of evaluating our guys,” he said. “Now we have to focus on developing depth.”


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