Tiger defense must slow down Lutcher’s top back, Valdin says

After touchdowns were in short supply in week one, they were seemingly falling from the sky this past Friday night as the Hahnville Tigers shut out the Istrouma Indians 56-0.

Eight different Tigers scored touchdowns as teamwork was the theme of the night. The running game pounded the Indian offensive line for more than 240 yards and featured the three-headed monster of Michael Ford, Travis Faucheaux and Ernest Thompson who each scored in the first quarter.

“We have so many inexperienced players, that we want all of them to get out there,” said Hahnville Head Coach Lou Valdin. “They all get banged up during the season and you can never have enough running backs.”

The Tigers were so efficient at scoring, that by the 14th minute of the game, they had already nailed the coffin shut and buried it with a 42-0 lead.

Three of the Tigers’ touchdowns did, in fact, fall from the sky as quarterback Easton Melancon’s three completed passes all ended in scores. Wide receivers Ronnie Green, Jaylon Bryant and Kailon Carter were the recipients of those passes, with Green picking up his second touchdown of the season. The receiving corps was talked about as a weakness of the offense during preseason, but they have shown improvement the past two weeks.

“They are coming along,” said Valdin. “Our completion percentage was better, but we didn’t throw the ball that much because we wanted to work on running the ball.”

With the loss, Istrouma has now been outscored 99-0 so far this season.

Unfortunately, the Tigers will not have the luxury of such a struggling opponent this week. They will be traveling to St. James Parish on Friday to take on the Lutcher Bulldogs who trounced McDonogh 35 last week 42-14 led by their highly touted running back Daniel Taylor. Valdin is wary of Taylor but determined to stop the Bulldog running game.

“Lutcher runs the football and that’s what we want to stop them from doing,” said Valdin. “We want to be able to run the football on them and force them to throw the ball.”

The defense will have a difficult task shutting down Taylor, but they proved that they can completely shut down a team this past week against Istrouma. The defense held strong and got great penetration on Friday with two Tigers coming away with sacks and two others with blocked kicks. Valdin acknowledged their success, but was very aware of their mistakes as well.

“Our defense did well,” he said. “We had some mistakes, though. We gave them too many in-routes. We always try to force them to throw to the out-routes.”

The Tigers will have to watch both the ground and the air this week as Lutcher quarterback Ruston Matherne threw for three touchdowns last week and ran for one as well.

This will be the Tiger’s second road game in three weeks to start the season, a fact that Valdin believes will be a challenge with a potential upside.

“We’ve had a lot of success at home, but we’ve had some trouble on the road,” said Valdin. “But getting to play in New Orleans last week and going to Lutcher this week will give these guys valuable experience come playoff time when we have to travel.”

Hahnville will also have the benefit of having seen Lutcher in person in the Jamboree against Destrehan earlier this season.

“It gave us a jump on what they were doing,” Valdin said. “We got to see what worked against them and what didn’t. And although we’re not an exclusive shotgun team like Destrehan, we got to see how they lined up on defense against some of the formations that we have.”

Friday night’s matchup will be a tough assignment for the Tigers, but it will definitely be one that will benefit the team in the long run no matter the outcome.

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