For the last three years, when opposing coaches faced Hahnville they had to game plan on how to stop Tiger linebacker Ben Taylor.
They rarely succeeded.
Taylor, an extremely physical and fast tackling machine, has been named to the All-District team for three straight years. After his senior season, Taylor captured the attention of sportswriters across Louisiana and was named to the All-State 1st team as well as the All-Metro team.
The linebacker was one of only two players in the River Parishes to be given such an honor.
“Being selected to the All-State team was a major goal of mine heading into my senior year,” Taylor said. “It doesn’t get much bigger than that.”
And after looking at his stats, his selection is hardly a surprise. Taylor finished the regular season with 124 total tackles in only nine games, which included 92 solo tackles and 32 assists. He also had 11 tackles for loss, seven sacks, a forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and one pass breakup.
“He plays fast and hits hard,” Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin said. “He is the best we’ve ever had at running laterally and is the best player at his position that I have had in my 12 years at Hahnville.”
In fact, Valdin said that Taylor was such a dominant player that the Tigers defense was built around him for the last two seasons.
“We moved him around to where we thought they would run the ball and our defensive linemen knew that Ben would be able to make the play,” Valdin said. “He was also a tremendous blitzer. He has so much speed that we could line him up five yards back and he would still get at the quarterback.”
At first, Valdin said that Taylor served as the quarterback of the defense from his middle linebacker position.
“But then we realized that he was such a good player that we needed to free him up and turn him loose,” he added.
Taylor has garnered interest from Nicholls State and West Point, among others, and Valdin feels he will really make a mark at the next level.
“His success will depend on the system, and if he stays at linebacker he will probably have to move to the outside,” Valdin said. “But I think he’s so fast and such a hard hitter that he would make a really good strong safety.
“Any college that takes him is getting a great football player.”
Valdin said that the only thing keeping Taylor (5’11, 195 pounds) from being a national recruit is his size.
“The thing with Ben is that if he were two inches taller he could play anywhere in the country,” he said. “College coaches put too much of an emphasis on size.”
But no matter where Taylor ends up next season, Valdin knows that his graduation leaves a huge hole on the Tiger defense.
“He will be a tremendous loss for us,” he said. “When you have a guy that you know will solidify a position for three years, it leaves a big hole when he leaves, especially when the guy never got hurt or missed a game like Ben did.”