Strength on strength: Hahnville defense to be tested by high-powered Mandeville

Jerry Spencer of Hahnville will be counted on heavily with fellow receiver Corey Lorio sidelined.

Hahnville passed its first test of the season with flying colors last week, dispatching Denham Springs 28-0. But it only gets tougher this week.

A high-flying Mandeville offense welcomes the Tigers on Friday night, as Hahnville travels to the Northshore for a battle of 1-0 teams. The Skippers took down Poplarville in a shootout where the two foes scorched the scoreboard for 100 combined points in a 65-35 Mandeville win.

Mandeville quarterback Devon Tott tossed eight touchdown passes, six of those to top receiver Will Sheppard. Tott finished the night with 464 yards, Sheppard hauling in 13 of Tott’s 19 completions for 346 yards and three touchdowns.

It’ll be strength on strength, then, on Friday. Hahnville has not allowed a point in a little over six quarters of football, including its Week One performance and a 50-0 win in its jamboree against Grace King. The Tigers haven’t allowed 100 yards of total offense this season.

But this kind of offense always ramps up the pressure upon a defense, said Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio.

“I feel good about the way we’ve played and the numbers, but you’re always on edge as a defensive coach,” Saltaformaggio said. “You take 70 snaps on offense, and you’re good to really good on five or six of those? That’s 28 to 35 points and probably a win. But if you’re bad on defense for six plays? You’re staring at a loss. You can’t make any mistakes, and that’s always my mentality.”

Both teams will be familiar with the other’s offensive scheme. They’re similar attacks, as Hahnville offensive coordinator Daniel Luquet and Mandeville offensive coordinator Michael Manguno coached together at Woodlawn when Luquet was head coach there.

“They’re schematically very close to us,” Saltaformaggio said. “They have very skilled kids out on the perimeter. (Sheppard)  is exceptional. Tott is very good. Their skill kids are really impressive, and this is a different challenge for us this week.”

Denham was threatening on offense due to its size and ability to run the football. Mandeville boasts more speed and Tott’s ability to improvise and make plays outside of design will give the Tigers a few boxes to check defensively.

Conversely, the quickest way to slow Mandeville will be to give Tott more things to think about as well—specifically, the Tigers’ pass rush.

“It starts up front for us. It’s hard to throw the ball when you’re on your back,” Saltaformaggio said. “If we can get pressure with our down four, like we did last week, we’re in good shape.”


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