Once again, the Hahnville offense put up a lot of points against a district opponent, and as it has done all season, the Tigers’ defensive unit came up big when it counted to make those points a possibility.
The Tiger defense forced four turnovers against Dutchtown to turn a close 7-7 game in the first half into a 41-7 blowout by the time the clock expired in the fourth quarter. Those turnovers all came on the Griffins’ side of the field, and led to quick touchdown strikes by Brian Ensminger and a couple of short scoring runs by Alfred Blue.
Ensminger finished the game with 153 yards and two touchdowns, while Blue added three touchdowns and racked up 92 yards.
“I haven’t been surprised with the defense’s ability to force turnovers because that’s something we work on,” Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin said. “Possession is the biggest thing in high school football. On offense, we want to hold on to the ball, and on defense, we want to take it away.”
But it wasn’t just the fumble recoveries by Justin Hill, Brody Bourg, Jontrell Lockett and a strip by Jared Harrell that made the defense stick out. They also kept Dutchtown’s tricky offense at bay for much of the game. In fact, the only thing the defense did allow was a 68-yard score by Johnathan Darville that came out of the Wildcat formation.
“I thought we played pretty good with the exception of that one play,” Valdin said. “I was pleased with our performance.”
Next up for the Tigers is Friday night’s game against St. Amant, who enters the contest with a 5-3 record. The Gators jumped out to a 5-0 start with wins over Covington, Hammond, Plaquemine, Bonnabel and Reed. But since entering district, the Gators have lost three straight games to East St. John, Dutchtown and East Ascension.
But just because they have lost all of their district games doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of pulling off an upset of Hahnville.
“The biggest thing that scares me about St. Amant is the play action pass,” Valdin said. “They run the option, run the option, run the option and then throw it.”
That creates problems, Valdin said, because when a team defends the option, they must commit the secondary to stopping the run.
“But that makes you susceptible to the big play,” Valdin said. “We have been working on that and we are trying to free up our safety and have him watch out for those passes.”
Because St. Amant runs the option so much, it also allows them to control the clock. That means that Hahnville’s defense will have to wait for opportunities, while the offense will need to snatch them up in a hurry.
“Offesively, they run the clock so our offense is going to have to control the tempo of the game,” Valdin said. “We have to be fast-paced because we are going to have a limited number of possessions.”