Hahnville arrived at Terrebonne with sealing a playoff spot on its mind, but Terrebonne and standout rusher Jayce Johnson had other ideas.
Johnson scored five times and posted a dominating effort overall on the ground as Terrebonne ended Hahnville’s season, 45-28 in the final game of the regular season.
“We played hard. We played hard … second half, their running back was the best player on the field tonight. He had five touchdowns, probably rushed for about 300 yards. We couldn’t tackle him, we couldn’t get him to the ground,” said Hahnville head coach Daniel Luquet. “Offensively, we didn’t have as many possessions in the second half to get what we needed, just three possessions … it’s tough. It’s tough – our guys played hard, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to get the running back to the ground.”
The loss brings to an end what was a 23-year streak of Hahnville postseason appearances. Hahnville finished with a record of 3-6 (2-3 in District 7-5A) and an unofficial final power points rank of 30 overall. Prior to 2022, that rank would have placed Hahnville in the field, but last year saw a change to the playoff structure with the top 4 schools in Division I non-select receiving a bye and just 28 teams earning their way into the postseason.
It was a closer game than the final score indicated for the majority of the night, but that five-touchdown stat line was every bit indicative of how Terrebonne controlled the night’s action with its rushing attack. THS (7-3, 4-2) led by 10 with just over eight minutes left.
The turning point of the night, however, arguably came through the air.
Hahnville began the second half with a strong offensive drive to take the lead on a Calvin Smith plunge at the goal line, HHS jumping ahead 27-24. Smith extended the drive earlier after Luquet called for a fake punt that worked to perfection, Smith powering for yardage and a first down on the play.
On the next drive, Cameron Darensbourg dropped Johnson for a loss on first down and it appeared Hahnville might be ready to take control. But on the next play Johnson got loose for a first down. And on the play after that, Terrebonne quarterback Quincy Adams uncorked a deep ball to Kylan Billiot – the 6’4 LSU commitment ripped down the contested catch and ran the rest of the way for a 45-yard touchdown that put Terrebonne back ahead, 31-28.
Hahnville’s next drive began with a holding penalty, but Ryan Gregson’s pass to Calvin Smith resulted in a long catch and run that had Hahnville in business.
HHS got into the red zone, but Terrebonne’s defense stiffened. Hahnville was forced to settle for a field goal attempt on fourth down and 4 to go – the field goal sailed wide right and the score remained 31-28 midway through the third quarter.
Terrebonne drove down the field on the back of Johnson. Inside the 10, HHS’ Nizair Miller made a tackle for loss, but Terrebonne followed up with two more Johnson runs, the second a touchdown off of a fake QB sprint out that pushed the lead to 10.
Hahnville needed an answer, but couldn’t find one. Terrebonne forced Hahnville’s hand on fourth and long deep inside HHS’ own territory, and Hahnville punted with 8:15 left to play.
Terrebonne cemented the game on the next drive, its rushing attack grinding all but the final 1:17 of play off the clock – Johnson capped the drive with his fifth and final touchdown run of the night as Terrebonne’s home fans celebrated.
“He’s their best player, and we knew that coming in,” said Luquet. “I thought their offensive line played exceptionally well. Kudos to them and to Coach Lewis. You don’t rush for five touchdowns if those five guys up front don’t do their jobs, and they controlled the line of scrimmage on offense.”
Unofficially – the final brackets will be released Sunday – the win likely propelled Terrebonne to the No. 16 seed in Division I non-select, and with it a home playoff game. It’s been a breakthrough season for head coach Tyler Lewis’ team, which closed the season with two victories in three weeks from Lewis’ old River Parishes region – Lewis starred at West St. John during his prep days, and led Terrebonne to victories over East St. John and Hahnville.
“We considered this a must win game for us to be able to host a home playoff game … we challenged our offensive line after last week (Terrebonne’s loss to Thibodaux). That was one of our downfalls. Everything revolves around those guys … they allowed Jayce to get freed, playing in open spaces … it was just productive for us.”
Terrebonne called upon Adams to step in for starting quarterback Owen Oliver, who was out with an injury.
“That kid is a sponge. He takes everything in … I knew he was ready,” said Lewis. “I’m very proud of Quincy and everything he did tonight for sure.”
But this night belonged to Johnson, who said he understood the team would be relying on him with Oliver sidelined.
“I’ve got to thank my offensive line. Without them, it doesn’t happen,” Johnson said. “I was being patient and hitting the hole when I saw the opening. They were picking up the blitzes really well and blocking really well … I knew they’d be relying on me from the jump, but (Adams) did his part as well.”