Friday night’s reality in Thibodaux was almost certainly nothing like what Hahnville head football coach Nick Saltaformaggio envisioned for his return to the sideline this season.
His Tigers traveled to face District 7-5A foe Terrebonne, which scored 34 second half points to post a decisive 41-0 victory to send the Tigers to 1-4, its worst start in Saltaformaggio’s five season tenure with the team, and an early 0-2 hole in District 7-5A.
“We just fell apart (in the second half),” Saltaformaggio said. “We do everything bad football teams do, and unfortunately, at this time, we’re not a good football team at all.”
Among those issues were four Hahnville turnovers plus a blocked punt, which gave a Terrebonne team heavy on skill position talent all the at bats it needed to cash in.
The game was moved from Terrebonne to Thibodaux’s stadium due to concerns about the condition of the THS field, which had a game played on it a day earlier and was already weather-worn due to rain.
The game started as a defensive clash. It was a scoreless tie until five seconds were left in the first half, when Terrebonne quarterback Keshawn James tossed a touchdown pass to Jakhi Douglas from 11 yards out to push THS up 7-0.
But the star of the night was Terrebonne rusher Chaz Ward, who galloped for 143 yards and three touchdowns, two of those coming in the third quarter of play to push THS ahead 19-0.
Terrebonne (5-0, 2-0) added 22 fourth quarter points, two touchdowns scored on by Douglas on a run and punt return, respectively. Ward opened the quarter with a 30 yard touchdown run.
“That team will be either 9-1 or 10-0, probably,” Saltaformaggio said. “When you give a team with the talent at the skill spots that they have and that plays defense like they do five extra possessions and a short field, you’re gonna get blown out like we did tonight … the turnovers hurt us, more than anything.”
For Terrebonne, the win extends the team’s best start in years, the Tigers beginning 2018 with a perfect 5-0 mark and 2-0 in district play.
Last season the two teams met in a shootout, one won by Hahnville 52-35. The Terrebonne offense was known to be talented, deep with playmakers and diverse. But it was the Terrebonne defense that stepped forward for perhaps its best night of the season, stonewalling a struggling Hahnville offense and holding the team to less than 150 yards of total offense.
Saltaformaggio said there is no quick fix for Hahnville and emphasized it’s going to take plenty of hard work over a period of time to climb out of the hole the Tigers find themselves in.
“It’s not a matter of effort. Our kids play with tremendous effort … we’re just not very good right now,” Saltaformaggio said. “The key part of that phrase is ‘right now’ and that’s what our kids have to understand. You just have to accept that this is where we are and the responsibility that comes with correcting that. Our kids are pretty resilient and they don’t want this to happen.
“Right now, we’re not where we need to be … 1-4 at the halfway point is what it is. The only way out of this is a full, complete commitment to hard work.”