The recipe for Hahnville’s early season success has been a simple one: A heavy dose of running back Darryle Evans and then pound the opposing offense into a pulp.
The plan worked to perfection once again Friday night.
Evans rolled for 179 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, and the host Tigers scored their other touchdown on a Pick 6 by Brandon Comardelle, as they made it look easy in a 21-0 District 7-5A victory over East St. John on Friday night.
“We have been starting off slow for the first four or five weeks, but today we got off a little faster,” said Evans, who had nine carries of longer than 10 yards. “It’s a mind thing. When you’re up a lot, you tend to lay down, and we kept working and kept fighting.”
And for the first time since 2007, Hahnville has started the season 5-0. In fact, it’s the first time since 2010 the Tigers didn’t have two losses at the midway point.
“It feels great,” Evans said.
Neither team could get anything going on their first couple possessions, and the first first down of the game didn’t come until the Tigers did so on a 14-yard run by Evans with 4:14 to go in the first quarter. East St. John didn’t gain a first down until their second play of the second quarter.
The Hahnville defense thoroughly dominated the first half, and the offense finally caught up. They outgained the Wildcats, 156 yards to 20, including 128 rushing yards to 4 through the first 24 minutes.
Evans scored both Tigers touchdowns – from 14 and 11 yards out – as the hosts took a 14-0 lead into intermission.
Adonis Friloux led a defense that sacked East St. John quarterback Sean Shelby five times, including four times in the first half. Friloux totaled three on the night, and the Wildcats simply had no answer for the pressure they received.
“We just couldn’t get anything going tonight, and hat’s off to Hahnville. They came out with a great game plan, and they got after our butts tonight,” East St. John coach Brandon Brown said. “Their front four is pretty good, we couldn’t protect up there, and they got after us pretty good.
“The key is win, lose or draw that when the clock strikes zero, we have to pick ourselves up and get better. I was very pleased with our defense, and they continued to fight all night.”
Indeed they did other than defending Evans. In all, the Wildcats (3-2, 1-1) allowed just 248 total yards. Problem was their offense mustered just 106, and 37 of those came in the final drive in garbage time.
“We had put in a big game plan for this one. We put in a lot of stunts, and other things, and for us to (execute) all that in the game and dominate with it is fantastic,” Friloux said. “At halftime, we talked to each other and said we had to come out and dominate. We knew after what happened last year, we had to stay and play throughout.”
What happened last year to this Hahnville team has been well documented, and that seems to be long gone in their rear-view mirrors. This same team lost at home to the Wildcats, 21-7, in Week 8, and since then they are 8-1 with that lone loss coming in the Class 5A playoffs last year at the hands of eventual state-champion Zachary.
“I have been playing since I was a freshman and have been through all the different obstacles and challenges we have been through, and it feels great to be 5-0,” Friloux said. “It feels like I am living a dream. We need to make sure we continue to watch film every day, execute and stay humble.”
There’s no question Hahnville (5-0, 2-0) continues to play with a chip on their shoulders. In the postgame talk to his team, Coach Nick Saltaformaggio said he fully expected his team to be picked “17th in the state behind some 3-2 teams” when the newest poll comes out Monday by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
Is he using that to his advantage? Well, duh.
“Maybe somebody will wake up sooner or later, but as long as these guys keep believing and our coaches keep believing, I’ll keep believing,” Saltaformaggio said. “… We had a team that wasn’t even ranked, they won a big game in the Catholic League, and they jumped seven spots.
“That’s OK. I absolutely believe we are (one of the top three teams in the state). We didn’t even play a great game tonight, but we’re 5-0, there aren’t a whole lot of teams 5-0 in the state, so we’ll take it.”
Hahnville will travel to Thibodaux next Friday night, while East St. John will host Helen Cox next week before traveling to Destrehan in Week 7.
Watch the full replay of the game here (via subscription):
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Hahnville | 7 | 7 | 7 | 0 | 21
East St. John | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0
Hahnville – Darryle Evans 14 run (Tate White kick), 0-7, 2:13
Hahnville – Evans 11 run (White kick), 0-14, 6:49
Hahnville – Brandon Comardelle 14 interception return (White kick),
East St. John (106 total yards of offense; 30 rushing, 76 passing)
Rushing: CJ Gardner, 10-66; Sean Shelby, 7-(minus)-24; Rydell Jackson, 2-4; Dontae Fleming, 1-(minus)-3; Team, 1-(minus)-13
Receiving: Fleming, 1-13; Alonzo Porter, 2-33; Gardner, 4-5; Markel August, 2-25
Passing: Shelby, 9-22, 76 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs
Hahnville (248 total yards of offense, 220 rushing, 28 passing)
Rushing: Darryle Evans, 24-179, 2 TDs; Trey LaBranch, 12-62; Drew Naquin, 5-(minus)-25; Jerry Spencer, 2-10; Team, 1-(minus)-6
Receiving: Evans, 2-12; Corey Lorio, 2-16
Passing: Naquin, 4-11, 28 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
Jim Derry is a Regional Reporter and Play-by-Play Announcer for VSN Louisiana and can be reached at email@example.com