The Hahnville offensive attack won’t soon be confused with those subscribing to the kind of bombs away, air-it-out philosophies becoming more and more popular in today’s game, not with defensive, run-minded Nick Saltaformaggio operating as Tigers head coach. But while “Coach Salt” promises his smashmouth ideals are going nowhere, it doesn’t mean his group lacks for ability whatsoever when it comes to the passing game, something made clear by the Tigers success in 7-on-7 tournament action this summer.
Hahnville finished as a semifinalist and a quarterfinalist, respectively, at a pair of 7-on-7 tournaments at Southeastern University earlier this summer, displaying the skills of several key players including new quarterback Jhaquan Jackson, a junior-to-be who succeeds last year’s senior passer Austin Perrin.
“It went better than I expected,” Saltaformaggio said. “We will not and never will be a traditional 7-on-7 football team where we run the man under, 2 deep, running backs through the A gap, five vertical routes up the field. It’s not what we do.
So when we get to the semifinals and quarterfinals of these giant tournaments, we do it doing what we do … roll out, sprint out pass, play action pass, and two deep, three deep zone coverage. It’s really a testament to the ability of our kids.”
Jackson’s profile has expanded significantly since last season, when he played receiver as a sophomore for the Tigers. Saltaformaggio noted that Jackson has impressed in a major way at collegiate camps this summer and has already received multiple offers to play at the next level.
“He’s a guy who, in June, very few people outside of St. Charles Parish knew of him. Now he’s gotten multiple offers,” Saltaformaggio said. “He’ll be a junior and we’re very excited about him. He’s a great leader and awesome player.”
Others who Saltaformaggio noted performed well over the summer, which included the 7-on-7 action and some work with and against Holy Cross, included Jamel Byrd, Brandon Johnson and Logan Robert.
Receiver Michael Gray, Saltaformaggio said, has especially shined, putting in an “exceptional” summer both on and off the field.
“He’s really emerged as a team leader,” Saltaformaggio said.