Jesuit blew open a close game with a dominant second half surge to overcome Hahnville Friday night, earning a 47-21 non-district victory at Tad Gormley Stadium.
The Blue Jays (4-3) led 21-14 at halftime. But a flurry of forced turnovers and big plays over a span of six minutes and change in the second half ultimately buried the Tigers, who were down 34-14 after three quarters and trailed by as many as 33 points before the night was through.
Trey LaBranch scored two touchdowns to lead Hahnville (5-2). Andrew Naquin and Corey Lorio connected on a touchdown pass as well for the Tigers.
Hahnville was in striking distance when disaster struck early in the third quarter. Jesuit scored in three plays after receiving the second half kickoff, with running back Jordan Hughes capping the drive with a short touchdown run.
Jesuit intercepted a pass on Hahnville’s ensuing possession, setting up a touchdown pass from Jack Larriviere to Max Milano to make it 34-14. Hahnville then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Jesuit scored again to all but finish the Tigers off.
“After that, it was over,” said Hahnville head coach Daniel Luquet. “That six minutes stretch, we probably played our worst football of the year. It defined the game.”
Jesuit’s Luke Besh topped 250 yards receiving on the night. While Hahnville was able to bottle up the run for long stretches of the game, the big play was its Achilles’ heel.
“We did a great job shutting down the run, but we allowed too many big plays on defense,” Luquet said. “We made too many mistakes in all respects … I felt like we had a gameplan that was working, but things fell apart so quickly and that takes you out of what you want to do both offensively and defensively.”
Unsurprisingly, Luquet said it wasn’t the outing he or his team envisioned. Following the game, he talked to his team about being able to handle adversity, and said this should be a learning experience in the importance of it.
Of course, this was one of two stern tests against high end, playoff caliber teams. So while the bad news for Hahnville is that this one showed a bad result, the good news is the slate can be wiped clean on Monday – after all, nothing gets a Hahnville Tiger’s focus quite like the Destrehan Wildcats, on the docket next Friday night.
“I know what this (upcoming) week means to the community and to everyone on this football team … at the end of the day, you have to come out, have a good week of practice and then you have the chance to show on Friday night that you prepared exactly how you need to,” Luquet said.