The Friday night lights will actually be shining a day early this week for Hahnville, as the surging Tigers spring into action Thursday night to visit Terrebonne in the final week of the regular season.
Terrebonne went 3-4 last season, qualifying for the playoffs before losing in round one to Dutchtown. But this season the Tigers have taken a step back, entering its regular season finale with a 1-5 record.
THS won in its second week of the season, 26-8 over Central Lafourche, but has lost four in a row since, including last week’s 27-21 finish to Thibodaux.
Offensively, Terrebonne attacks in waves, without one star above others to key on – the ball gets out into the hands of a variety of playmakers. The team had to regroup by committee after former Terrebonne star Jaylin Lucas transferred to Edna Karr following Hurricane Ida.
Quarterback Kyrin Robinson leads the THS offense and is a major threat to take off and run.
“They like to put a lot of verticals on the field to run you off, and give the quarterback some space to take off and run,” Luquet said. “He’s their best player on that side of the ball and he can really make things happen with his legs. It’s a matter of containing him and making sure he can’t hurt us.”
Defensively, THS aims to muddy the water for the opposing passer, shifting into different fronts and mixing up its coverages.
Hahnville (4-3, 3-3) was never threatened in its 49-13 win over Central Lafourche last week. But although HHS was heavily favored, it still had to navigate some turbulent waters on the injury front – specifically, the absence of several key offensive starters as leading receiver Troy Kendrick and starting running back K’Jon Smith were both out for the game.
Kendrick and Smith are expected back by the playoffs if not before, but in the meantime, Hahnville needed somewhere to turn for production. Enter Joshua Joseph, who carried the ball 11 times for a career high 108 yards and two touchdowns.
But observers were also introduced to promising freshman Calvin Smith, who rushed 11 times for 86 yards and a score, including a 30-yard touchdown run to put Hahnville on the board for the first time Friday night.
Often, the two shared time on the field together out of a split back alignment, and the results were favorable for the Tigers.
“The one thing about all the backs we have, they all have different strengths. And Josh, he’s really great at our sprint counter. He’s good at catching it out the backfield. And you saw it Friday, when you give these guys 16, 17 carries, they have the ability to really produce.”
Smith, Luquet said, has the potential to truly make his mark at Hahnville over the next few years.
“He is going to be in line with the rest of the guys who have come through this program, as one of the very good ones at the running back position,” Luquet said. “Obviously, with the three guys we’ve had to start the year, we were expecting (Smith) to get his experience at that J.V. and freshman level and then be a guy who can contribute next year. But with the injuries we’ve had, combined with his growth and performance … to be honest, if you never looked at a roster and just watch the way he runs, see how he handles himself, you’d never know he was a freshman.”
The Tigers defense has certainly done its part to allow the team’s young offensive players a chance to grow up while posting wins on the scoreboard. Hahnville has allowed just 34 points over its past five games. On Friday night, Central Lafourche gained just 28 total yards against the Purple and Gold.
Donovan Friloux has accounted for seven touchdowns (three passing, four rushing) to go with 822 passing yards this season. Joseph is the team’s leading rusher with 236 yards on the ground and three touchdowns and Kendrick its leading receiver (360 yards, three touchdowns).
As a team, Hahnville has rushed for 810 yards and 11 touchdowns on 186 attempts.