Coming off of its first loss of the season to an inspired East St. John team last Friday night, Hahnville returns home to Tiger Stadium for its homecoming game, where it will host a Thibodaux team perhaps far more dangerous than its record would indicate.
So far this season, Thibodaux (1-2, 1-1) has seen some struggles through three weeks – but not much of that has come on the defensive side of the ball. THS has allowed just 26 total points this season, 10 coming in last week’s 10-7 loss to district and local rival Terrebonne. It won its first district game of the season in dominant fashion, 54-2 over Central Lafourche, and fell 14-13 in Week One to McDonogh No. 35 in a non-district battle.
But for a couple of breaks, however, Thibodaux could easily be 3-0 at the moment. It led at halftime against McDonogh No. 35, and Terrebonne needed a late stop to hold on for its own win over Thibodaux last week.
The Terrebonne/Thibodaux score might seem of particular note for Hahnville supporters. Hahnville (2-1, 1-1) also holds a win over Terrebonne, that coming 47-40 in a Week Two shootout. The two results might indicate a clash of styles this week at Tiger Stadium, and a question as to what type of game could this become: a pinball-esque shootout, or a low-scoring slugfest?
For Hahnville head coach Daniel Luquet, it’s clear why Thibodaux has been able to limit its opponents.
“You look at that 10-7 score and say, ‘Wow, how did they hold Jaylin Lucas (Terrebonne star who scored four times Week Two at HHS) to that much?” Luquet said. “’It’s because they tackle. They tackle extremely well, play sound football and they keep guys in front of them to make them work down the field. They’ve got some athletes and they do a very good job battling on the line of scrimmage.”
Several players are back from last season’s Thibodaux defense, including returning All-District selection Lamar Winston, a 6’2, 250 pound defensive tackle who will move around the formation depending on situation and matchup. Ferronte Miller is another playmaker at outside linebacker who also starts at running back.
Offensively, Thibodaux lost much of its firepower from last year’s high-octane scoring unit, but one of its most dangerous weapons returns in quarterback Luke Alleman, last season’s All-District quarterback in 7-5A.
“That’s their number one guy and he’s a phenomenal football player,” Luquet said. “The guys they lost last year are guys starting for their respective college teams now, so he’s lost some weapons, but he’s a very smart, athletic kid who does a good job throwing on the run. He’s been using his legs more this year. We’ll have to be sure to keep him in the pocket, be physical with his wide receivers and we have to make him make throws.”
The Thibodaux offense truly clicked in Week Two against Central Lafourche, by far the team’s best offensive showing. As Luquet alluded to, Alleman has been a factor in the running game this year, and totaled more than 140 yards on the ground and three touchdown runs in that win. Miller also scored on two explosive runs. Against Terrebonne, however, statistics weren’t plentiful – Thibodaux mustered just five first downs in the loss.
Hahnville, meanwhile, must respond to its first loss of the season last week at East St. John. The Wildcats controlled the line of scrimmage and kept the Tigers from garnering any momentum until the later stages of the game – forcing a turnover after a long HHS run in one instance, and faking a punt for a touchdown after an apparent key stop by the Tiger defense as another example.
Luquet said the primary problem, however, was a simple one – East St. John brought intensity befitting of a rivalry game, while his team fell short of it.
“They came out with more energy than we had,” Luquet said. “In this district, playing on the road is a difficult thing to do. You have to take care of homefield, and that’s what we need to turn the page to this week. We put that last one behind us pretty quickly.
“We have to dominate on the line of scrimmage. (Getting back on track) starts with us.”