Into the fire: District play begins Wednesday for Hahnville

Taji Sullivan takes down a Higgins ballcarrier in Week One.

Last week brought the first taste of football in 2020 for the River Parishes. And already, we’re on to district play – after just four off days, in fact.

The shortened season that saw Weeks 1 and 2 eliminated due to COVID-19 means Hahnville’s pre-district slate was just one game deep. On Wednesday night, HHS (1-0) hosts district rival Terrebonne as each team attempts to leap out to a positive start in league play.

The game was rescheduled from  Friday night due to Hurricane Delta. Kickoff  is officially set for 7:07 p.m.

Terrebonne outgunned South Terrebonne last week, 41-34, and come into this matchup 1-0.

Offensively, running back and wide receiver Jaylen Lucas is the centerpiece. Lucas, the brother of former Terrebonne quarterback Ja’Khi Douglas – currently playing at Florida State – was the driving force for a rushing attack that piled up more than 300 yards of rushing offense in last week’s victory. Lucas rushed for 304 yards and four touchdowns, while hauling in five receptions for 80 yards.

Like Hahnville, Terrebonne operates out the spread offensively. Getting Lucas the ball in space is the primary objective.

“They try to get him as many touches as possible,” said Hahnville coach Daniel Luquet, who enjoyed his first win as Hahnville head coach last Friday night. “He’s one of those special players who can definitely change a game. We’ve gotta recognize where he’s at and do a good job of making other people beat us.”

On defense, the cornerstone, without question, is superstar defensive tackle Maason Smith, a 6’5, 297 lb. 5-star rated recruit. Smith is ranked by Rivals.com as the 5th overall recruit in the nation and the country’s No. 1 rated defensive tackle. He has tallied offers from many of the nation’s top Division I programs.

“He’s got offers from a few SEC schools, LSU being one of them,” said Luquet. “He’s a phenomenal player, a big kid who’s physical, fast and a great technician. We’ve gotta put hats on him when we can, get the ball out of our hands quickly and get him running sideline to sideline to wear him out.”

Smith’s size anchors a front three that provides the base of Terrebonne’s 3-4 and 3-3-5 defensive looks.

“They mix it up defensively. They do some things with that fourth or fifth guy (at the line of scrimmage) to try and confuse the offensive line,” said Luquet.

Terrebonne and Hahnville played a classic game last season, one of Hahnville’s more memorable victories during what was an 8-0 start. Terrebonne jumped out to a 19-0 lead and it seemed like a repeat from the previous year could be in order, when Terrebonne blasted Hahnville 41-0 – a night then-Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio said stuck with him and many of his players.

“There was that 41-0 score, so the next time out I think we came out with a little too much emotion,” said Luquet, who was Hahnville’s offensive coordinator last season. “We made some uncharacteristic mistakes that we had to overcome.”

Overcome, they did, as Hahnville roared back to a 34-27 victory.

That was a high scoring affair. Time will tell what the Terrebonne offense will be this season without Douglas, and Hahnville would provide a stern litmus test. Ditto for Terrebonne’s defense upon the Hahnville offense, which looked razor sharp in a 49-0 season opening win over Higgins last week.

Andrew Naquin completed nine passes in 15 attempts for 146 yards and four touchdowns against three interceptions. Naquin also rushed for 47 yards. Trey LaBranch rushed for 192 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries for Hahnville. Troy Kendrick had a dominant night as well, hauling in six receptions for 90 yards and three touchdowns. Collin Zeringue also had a 22-yard score.

Luquet spoke highly of Hahnville’s weaponry on the perimeter prior to the season, and so far he looks like a prophet. While Kendrick had the big night last week, he sees big things for Dakota Williams – who saw some extra coverage last week – and Corey Lorio, who was used primarily on defense to cover for some injury losses, over the coming weeks.

“(Higgins) rolled coverage over to Dakota and you’re not going to be able to do that and leave these guys one on one,” Luquet said. “It’s kind of pick your poison with this group.”

 

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