The Hahnville Tigers relied on an aggressive rushing attack to lay a lopsided victory on St. James in the Ed Reed River Parishes Jamboree.
Hahnville brought the score to 37-0 before St. James put 13 points up on the board playing against Hahnville’s backup defenders for a final score of 37-13.
Led by running backs Lynn Simmons and Todge Scott as well as quarterback Dylan Keller, Hahnville racked up first downs one after another on multiple play scoring drives throughout the first 15 minute half of the exhibition game.
Simmons looks to have greatly improved since this time last year when he was named starting running back for the jamboree and first four regular season games, all of which ended in losses, before being replaced by Sergio Medina midway through the season.
On his first rush Simmons picked up 13 yards and a first down and eventually ended the drive finding the end zone from three yards out for the first score of the game.
Keller also got to show of his ground game ability on the next offensive series when he ran for a big first down before pealing off a 12 yard touchdown on a bootleg.
On Simmons’s second touchdown of the night he twisted, turned and spun through numerous tackles en route to a 21 yard touchdown. However, he tweaked his knee on the play and spent the remainder of the game on the sideline with a bag of ice strapped to his leg.
With Simmons out of the game Scott stepped up and ran for a few long gains and fullbacks Brad Aucoin and Jyrus Evans picked up first downs on carries before Evans hammered in a one yard touchdown late in the first half.
Although Keller dropped backed to pass on numerous occasions he was only able to get off two short throws to receivers out of the backfield, one of which went to Scott for a short gain and another that dropped short behind Evans. Throughout the rest of his time in the game Keller was unsettled in the pocket and was prone to tucking the ball quickly and scrambling for short gains.
It was not until backup quarterback Logan Martindale came under center in the second half that the passing game saw any success. Martindale’s first drive ended on a short out to tight end Tyler Lamers who hugged the sideline before diving into the end zone on a 31 yard touchdown to bring the score to 37-0.
On the defensive side of the ball Hahnville’s untested defensive line and linebacker units wreaked havoc on St. James’s quarterback and backfield holding the team to a number of three and outs and racking up numerous sacks and quarterback pressures.
With all of the pressure on St. James's backfield Hahnville’s secondary went mostly untested outside of drawing a pass interference call on a long pass attempt that fell incomplete.
Hahnville’s special teams were mostly successful in the matchup. Craig Ford, who is entering his third year as the team’s placekicker, successfully converted all five point after attempts and boomed a number of kickoffs into the back of the end zone for touchbacks. He also played well in his first outing as the team’s starting punter. However, after one of Ford’s kickoffs did not make it the distance for a touchback Hahnville’s kick coverage unit struggled and allowed a 54 yard return by St. James’s D’Kwan Sandolph.
Hahnville return man Ricky Preston also had his fair share of success with a 42 yard return that came off a free kick following a St. James safety that was caused by a snap that sailed over their punter’s head and out of the end zone.
Overall, it is important to note that St. James has gone winless for the past two seasons. So although Hahnville showed they can be successful in running the ball and the defense played exceptionally well, both achievements came against a weak opponent.
With potential receiving threats in Brandon Singleton, Preston and Lamers not only not getting any receptions with the first team offense, but not even being targeted, the passing game was virtually nonexistent.
Hahnville’s first real test will come in the season opener on Friday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. at Salmen.