The Hahnville Tigers may not have come away with a victory last Friday night in Dutchtown, but they played toe to toe with the No. 4 team in the state and proved that they are one of Louisiana’s best teams as well.
“We were disappointed in the outcome and more disappointed in our lack of scoring,” said Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin. “But athletically, we hung in there. We were the more physical football team and that bodes well for us in the next two games and into the playoffs.”
In the 13-10 loss, the Tigers became only the second team this season to hold the Griffins to less than 20 points. Besides two big touchdown runs from Dutchtown running back Effrem Reed, the defense kept the Griffins’ offense in check most of the night.
“We rolled the dice a lot and tried to force them to throw the ball,” Valdin said. “We knew they would make a couple of big plays, but we were able to play well on defense.”
With an injury to quarterback Brian Ensminger last week in the Destrehan game, the Tigers were unsure if he would be able to play against Dutchtown. So, with the Griffins knowing that they were going to be facing an injured quarterback or an inexperienced one, Valdin was expecting pressure from the defense. That pressure came, but the Tiger offensive line was a brick wall allowing Ensminger, who played with a knee brace, to throw 13 completions for 141 yards.
“The offensive line played real well,” Valdin said. “For a guy playing on one leg, Brian had great protection.”
The offensive line also helped running back Ahmad White to record another 100-yard game on the ground as he had 27 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown while catching four passes for 66 yards. Wide receiver Desvon Joseph also had four catches for 36 yards.
While pleased with the effort and physicality of the Tigers, Valdin sees some areas for improvement.
“Everything went well for us except a few things,” he said. “We had too many drive-killing penalties, the turnovers hurt us and we needed to come away with a touchdown instead of a field goal on that first possession.”
With the loss, the Tigers fall to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in district play, but they remained in the top ten in the LSWA rankings at No. 9.
This week, the Tigers will host the St. Amant Gators who are coming off a big 45-17 victory over East Ascension.
The Gators have scored 30 or more points in six of their eight games this season and are led by speedster quarterback Jaylin LeBlanc. The Gators’ high scoring offense runs the option and it has caught the attention of Valdin.
“No one has stopped St. Amant this year,” he said. “When they have lost, they have stopped themselves. It’s difficult to plan for the option because you only see it once, maybe twice a year.”
Valdin knows that the Gator offense will try to control the time of possession as it churns down the field, but his plan is to keep them off of the field as much as possible.
“We’ve got to make the most of our opportunities because they are going to burn up the clock,” he said.
Going forward, Valdin is optimistic about the Tigers’ chances of making and advancing in the playoffs.
“If we come out of these last two games with victories, we should be in the top eight teams in the state,” Valdin said. “That would put us at home to start the playoffs, and since I’ve been here we’ve only lost one playoff game at home.”
The Tigers will host St. Amant this Friday at 7 p.m.