Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin was hopeful that his squad would peak in time for district play. For 80 percent of the game, he got what he wanted.
The Tigers played their best football of the season in the first three quarters of Friday’s 24-15 win over Bonnabel. The victory evened out Hahnville’s overall record at 3-3, but most importantly, it improved the team to 1-0 in district play.
The Tigers wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, putting together a nice drive on their first possession. Junior running back Ernest Thompson finished it off by mauling his way through defenders for a 16-yard score that put the Tigers up 7-0 four minutes into the game.
Bonnabel got into Hahnville territory on their next possession and picked up a 4th and 3 that moved them to the Tiger 17-yard line. But a high snap flew over the head of Bruin quarterback Roy Bauer and was recovered by Hahnville’s Anthony Mott at the 46, effectively ending the Bonnabel threat.
The Tigers added their second touchdown with just 1:13 left until halftime. Senior quarterback Easton Melancon rolled right and found receiver Kailon Carter in the end zone to put Hahnville up 14-0.
Though a little more than a minute remained in the game, Bonnabel quarterback Ryan Evans broke off several long runs to the outside, stopping the clock after each one by stepping out of bounds.
Evans’ final run of the drive put Bonnabel on the 12-yard line with .02 seconds left until the break. Bruin kicker Daniel Velasquez was able to connect on a 29-yard field goal to cut into the Tiger lead, 3-14.
The Hahnville defense came alive on Bonnabel’s first drive of the second half. On third and long, Tiger junior linebacker Gabe Taylor sacked Evans on the Bruins’ 7-yard line. The following punt went only 13 yards and the Tigers got the ball at the 20.
Hahnville drove to the 3-yard line, but Melancon’s fourth down pass fell incomplete and the Tigers turned the ball over on downs.
Bonnabel took over at the 3 and marched to midfield. However, Hahnville defensive end Jamon Lathers recovered the Bruins second bad snap of the night and the Tigers began to march into Bonnabel territory.
But the drive stalled and Valdin called in sophomore kicker Craig Ford, who nailed a 45-yard field goal to put the Tigers up 17-3.
Hahnville’s final score of the night came after Jerqwinick Sandolph intercepted an Evans pass and raced 23 yards down the left sideline. On the next play, Thomspon punched it in from 9-yards out to put the Tigers on top 24-3 with 10:24 left in the game.
But Bonnabel would make things interesting. On the very next series, Evans hit Troy Lilly for a 78-yard score, but the Bruins were unsuccessful on a two point conversion and still trailed 24-9.
Evans and Lilly would hook up once again on the Bruins next possession – this time for a 10-yard score. But Bonnabel’s two-point conversion attempt again failed.
DHS 20 Higgins 26
It was a tale of two halves Friday night as the Destrehan Wildcats fell short 26-20 in overtime against the Higgins Hurricane in the first week of district play.
With playmaker Rickey Jefferson sidelined with an injury, running back Kevin Smith took the lead role with three touchdowns on the night and 178 total yards, all but 11 of those coming the second half.
The Wildcats struggled mightily in the first half on offense, gaining only one first down. During that time, Higgins scored twice on long drives which both ended in short touchdown runs from running back Darrell Williams. The Wildcat defense did prevent them from converting both two-point attempts to hold the score to 12-0 at the half.
But Head Coach Chris Stroud must have given quite a speech during halftime, because the Wildcats came out swinging in the third quarter and got themselves back into the game in just 14 seconds as running back Kevin Smith ran back the kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. The extra point cut the Higgins lead to 12-7 and swung the momentum back to Destrehan’s side.
The defense then forced two fumbles on the next possession and ultimately forced Higgins to punt. This gave the Wildcats the chance they needed. And they proceeded to hand the ball off to Smith and fellow running back Mark Trudeaux for a 67-yard drive that would end in a 13-yard touchdown run by Smith. The Wildcats then tried for a two-point conversion with a fake on the field goal. But the play failed and it would end up being a key missed opportunity in the grand scheme of things.
Higgins fought back on their next possession as quarterback Cedric Jackson took the ball 67 yards himself with four minutes left in the third quarter. This time, the Hurricanes converted the two-points and took a 20-13 lead.
After a three and out for the Wildcats, it looked as if the Hurricanes would take control of the game again as they were threatening to score. But, Jackson fumbled the ball inside the 10-yard line and it was recovered by the Wildcats at the four.
Then, the Wildcat machine revved up for an 18-play 96-yard drive that saw sophomore quarterback Donovan Isom complete four passes for 44 yards, three of them to wide receiver Derrick McGee, while Smith and Trudeaux provided the ground assault. The end result was a two-yard touchdown run by Smith that, with the extra point, tied the game with just under three minutes to play.
Higgins would fumble the ball again on their next possession and it was recovered by linebacker Gary Johnson. But Destrehan could not capitalize and the game went into overtime.
The Wildcats had the first possession and after gaining only a yard, a 26-yard field goal attempt was missed.
Higgins, however, found the endzone on their third play on an 11-yard run by Jackson, giving them the victory.
With the loss, the Wildcats fall to 2-4 on the season and 0-1 in district. Next Friday, Destrehan will host the John Ehret Patriots at 7 p.m.