It wasn’t about eligibility hearings, suspensions or controversy Friday night when Hahnville took the field at Hoss Memstas Stadium in Harvey for their season opening game against West Jefferson. It was simply about Hahnville showing it’s still Hahnville.
The Tigers did that by virtue of their dominating 45-0 victory over the Buccaneers, a night where Hahnville used a familiar recipe to dismantle its foe: suffocating defense and a powerful running game.
Mike Silva, Hahnville’s interim head coach while HHS coach Nick Saltaformaggio serves a four-game suspension, said that after weeks of distraction, it was simply time to get down to business.
“High school football is still about high school kids,” Silva said. “Once they get out here on the field, whether it’s at Hahnville or here at West Jefferson, they get to play football. All of their cares go away and they get to do what they love to do. I’m glad they had a good time tonight, because I know I had a great time.”
Hahnville’s offense struggled in preseason fare, but it took the ball on its opening drive and marched in for a score, courtesy of a short Darryle Evans touchdown run. That was set up by an explosive run by Jha’Quan Jackson, re-installed as the starting quarterback after quarterback Andrew Robison was declared ineligible by the LHSAA. Jackson had moved to wide receiver in the spring.
“It gave us faith and hope,” Jackson said of the opening drive. “That we weren’t gonna let it all affect us … it feels great.”
After Ryan Barbier recovered a blocked punt for Hahnville, the Tigers began their next drive on West Jefferson’s 9-yard line. Brandon Comardelle quickly punched in a 4-yard score to make it 14-0.
The Tigers’ defense got in on the scoring next when Alijah Hamilton intercepted a pass cleanly and took it down the sideline for a pick-six touchdown with 9:39 left in the first half.
It was another interception that helped push Hahnville’s advantage to 28-0. Robert Jackson’s pickoff set up a second Comardelle touchdown, this one with 5:10 left in the third quarter.
Ethan Chacon added a fourth quarter field goal before touchdown runs by Jace Myers and Dominique Curley rounded out the Hahnville (1-0) scoring and put West Jefferson (0-1) away.
Jackson said when he was playing receiver, there were times he missed playing quarterback. Ultimately, he said he was happy to make the move back because it’s what the team needed him to do.
“When Coach asks me to do something, I’m not gonna question it,” Jackson said. “It’s ‘yes sir.’ I’m just a guy who’ll do anything I have to … wide receiver, cornerback, invert, tight end, I don’t care. If they ask me to, I’ll do it.”
Silva called the offense a work in progress, noting Jackson still has taken very few snaps, relatively, at quarterback since last year’s Class 5A championship game.
“He’s capable of throwing the ball, but we have to give him some chances to,” Silva said. “They were bringing nine and 10 guys to the line tonight and we had some opportunities, but when you’re up 21-0, you’re trying to grind the clock down and get out with a win.”
The defense played as advertised.
“They bailed us out a couple times,” Silva said. “We struggled for stretches here or there and they get a pick and put us on a short field. Driving it 30 yards is a lot easier than going 70.”