Last week’s 33-7 win over visiting Pearl River represented a much-needed victory for Hahnville, which snapped a four-game losing streak in the process.
“You have no idea,” Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio said. “We still have a lot to improve … but when you win, it makes everything feel better.”
The Tigers (2-4, 0-2) hope to build on what they did against Pearl River this Friday night when Hahnville returns to its district schedule Friday night and welcomes Thibodaux to Tiger Stadium. The Tigers rushed for 329 yards last week and allowed no points defensively until very late in the game.
While Pearl River was an unbeaten non-district foe, however, Thibodaux (4-5, 1-2) represents a clear step up in competition, though THS is coming into this game on its own two-game losing streak after losing decisively to Destrehan, 49-10, and Terrebonne, 50-7. A number of starters were suspended for the clash with DHS, though Thibodaux figures to be closer to full strength this Friday.
“We’re kind of mirror images of one another,” Saltaformaggio said. “The biggest difference is we’ve got to tackle better, or else their quarterback is going to make this a long night for us. His athleticism at the position makes him a difference-maker on any given play.”
That quarterback, Tyren Young, was slated as the team’s backup quarterback early this season before an injury to quarterback Luke Allemand.
“(Young) is very fast,” Saltaformaggio said. “He competes every down and he has a strong natural skill set. Thibodaux does a good job putting him in position to make plays. They make his throws easier by their play design and he keeps plays alive with his feet.”
Controlling the Thibodaux running game will be a challenge, as Young and tailback Ferronte Miller do their work behind a mammoth offensive line, with three players well north of 300 pounds.
At wide receiver, Thibodaux boasts size and length, including 6-foot-3 Kyren Lacy and 6-foot-2 Marquel Price.
“They’re very, very big,” Saltaformaggio said. “(Along the offensive line) all you can do there is play with great leverage and keep your pad level down … their length at receiver can pose problems because we aren’t particularly tall in the secondary. We can’t afford to allow them explosive plays.”
Defensively, Thibodaux attacks by sending heavy pressure. Like Hahnville, THS puts a lot of speed on the field defensively via a 3-3-5 alignment. Defensive tackle Courtney Poche and linebacker Ykei Bentley are among Thibodaux’s most dangerous defensive players.
LAST SEASON: Hahnville bested Thibodaux 41-13 behind Pooka Williams’ 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns, Jha’Quan Jackson’s 171 total yards and four total touchdowns and some suffocating defensive play.
POWER FOOTBALL: Perhaps the most encouraging part of Hahnville’s win last week was the way the Tigers got their running game on track.
Brandon Comardelle led the way with 209 yards and two touchdown runs on 14 carries, but he was far from alone. Dominique Curley earned his first extensive playing time of the season and rushed seven times for 62 yards and a touchdown, while Jace Meyers continued his own emergence with five carries for 42 yards and two scores. Jha’Quan Jackson also got into the mix as a runner, lining up as Wildcat quarterback and running for 26 yards.
“It’s what we have to be right now,” said Saltaformaggio. “Until we can find consistency with our passing game, we have to lean on our running game. This was one of those games our offensive line really did well and hopefully we carry that over.
Saltaformaggio said his young offensive line, which starts three sophomores, has been steadily improving.
“That’s gonna help us,” Saltaformaggio said. “Whenever you have sophomores in there, as they get a little older, play a little better and develop confidence, you start to really see a difference. And that’s the biggest difference for us right now from a month ago.”