The first steps to returning to play on Friday nights – or Saturday afternoons, as the case may be – are set for the upcoming week, as the Hahnville and Destrehan football teams are planning to return to practice on Monday.
Hahnville head coach Daniel Luquet called it a good first step. He said what will ultimately be the first football game of the season is still to be determined.
A report by Crescent City Sports Wednesday afternoon indicated the goal for Hahnville and Destrehan was to move the scheduled rivalry game between the two teams on Sept. 24 to the afternoon of Sept. 25, with that game being the launch point for their respective seasons. Luquet said all that is confirmed to date, however, is that the St. Charles Parish School District has approved a return to practice and said when games can begin is a matter still to be determined later on.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Luquet said. “For me, I just want to be around my guys. I haven’t seen them in two weeks, since (Ida) happened. The Friday before we evacuated, that was the last time. Today we had cleanup at the facility, so to be able to see them, hug them and ask how they’re doing, that’s what I miss.”
This week will mark the second game each team will forgo. Each team missed their Week 1 and jamboree contests.
Luquet said it’s been made clear to players that though practice is permitted to begin again on Monday, attendance is not mandatory. The reality of the post-Ida situation in St. Charles Parish means for each of his players, and coaches as well, the respective situation is unique.
“This is an “if able” practice, and it’s a very fluid situation,” Luquet said. “It is not a mandatory practice. The most important part of all of this hasn’t changed – it’s about family and the recovery efforts for each family. Maybe a guy can make it on Monday, but not Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday because they’re helping their grandmother rip out walls. We might have three or four coaches out because they’re meeting with adjusters. The main goal is still about getting your family back where it needs to be.”
Making a difference in the community matters as well, and Luquet hopes to utilize a return to practice as a way to organize and help rebuild a home community tattered by Ida. He said the hope is for his group to wrap up practice and then go out into the community to help, be it by handing out water, supplies, ice or helping to clean up, a couple of times a week.
Whenever Hahnville returns to live competition, Luquet said he hopes to can provide a distraction for not just his players and coaches, but supporters of the team as well from the day-to-day grind locals have gone through following Ida.
“We talk about it all the time, using football to get away from it all for two or three hours,” Luquet said. “With all we have going on, you can give the kids a chance to forget about that for just a second. It’s not going to be the same for everyone. There are people who might think it’s too soon, and I understand it. But for others to be able to go for two to two-and-a-half fours and remove themselves from all of this … I think it helps.”