The Hahnville Tigers were able to hold off the John Ehret Patriots with a goal line stand at the end of Friday’s game to take a 28-21 victory and a shot at the district championship this week. With Higgins defeating East St. John as well that night, Hahnville lands in a three-way tie for the district lead.
The Tigers and Patriots alternated scoring in the first half on Friday, with Hahnville’s first two scores coming on a 44-yard run from Ernest Thompson and a four-yard run from Travis Faucheaux. The Tigers ran well on the night, racking up nearly 200 yards on the ground.
“I like it when we can run the football,” said Hahnville Head Coach Lou Valdin. “Because of the success of the running game, we were able to do play action passes that worked for us as well.”
One of those passes gave Hahnville a 21-14 lead at the end of the first half as quarterback Easton Melancon found Ronnie Green on an 18-yard touchdown reception.
Valdin also credits field position as a factor in the win.
“We won the field position battle, and that’s what we had to do,” said Valdin. “We don’t have any superstar athletes. We have to drive for points, so field position is big for us.”
Thompson added another rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter to provide what ended up being the winning score for the Tigers. Thompson finished the night with 122 yards on 16 carries.
But after a big pass play from Ehret quarterback Mike Alexander to wide receiver Paul Belton for an 85-yard touchdown, the Patriots were right back in the game. Then after a Tiger fumble, Ehret seemingly was going to at least tie the game when they had first and goal from the Tiger 8-yard line. But the Hahnville defense stood its ground and secured the victory in the closing seconds of the game.
“The guys didn’t panic and kept their composure,” Valdin said of his defense. “Being in those tough early games is starting to pay off. They did what they were coached to do and they played well.”
With Higgins facing John Ehret and East St. John playing Bonnabel, each team that is tied for the district lead has their fate in their own hands. If the Tigers win this Friday against Destrehan, they will assure themselves of at least a share of the District Championship. Valdin believes that this incentive will help the team focus during the Destrehan rivalry week.
“We have a chance to be District Champions,” he stated. “We’re playing for something more important. And if we lose tonight, we could be out of the playoffs. It’s probably a good thing so they won’t get caught up in all of the hoopla this week.”
Every time Hahnville and Destrehan face off against each other, it becomes a sort of “Parish Super Bowl” type of atmosphere. And more often than not, each team usually is playing well and playoff spots and district championships are at stake. But this year, Hahnville is the team playing for something, while Destrehan can only be a spoiler. The Wildcats have a 2-7 record overall and have not beaten a district opponent so far this season. But the Tigers are not taking them lightly.
“We have to do the things we try to do every week,” said Valdin. “We have to stop the run, hit the quarterback and take the ball away.”
Despite the Wildcats’ struggling offense, their defense has been lauded as one of the best in the area. That fact is not lost on the Tigers.
“They have the best D-line we will face all year,” said Valdin. “But if we can run the ball, we’ll be fine. We just have to protect the quarterback when we need to and give him time to throw.”
The Tigers have everything to gain from this game, but the Wildcats have nothing to lose. So before the big LSU and Alabama matchup on Saturday, the parish is going to get a little rowdy on Friday night. The “St. Charles Super Bowl” will be held at Hahnville at 7 p.m.