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Hahnville can inch closer to district title with triumph over CL Trojans

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  • George Becnel
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  • October 26, 2017 - 1:21pm

File photosNick Saltaformaggio's Hahnville Tigers can clinch no worse than a share for the District 7-5A title with a victory over visiting Central Lafourche on Friday night.

In Hahnville’s win over East St. John last Friday, Anthony “Pooka” Williams had his usual outing by producing more than 300 all-purpose yards.

The surprising aspect of the Tigers’ 27-0 win over East St. John was Hahnville’s blanking of a Wildcats offense that had been quite productive over the past few weeks.

“We are playing really well,” Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio said. “We’re playing better than we’ve ever played since I’ve been the head coach in all facets of the game. The weakest part of our game is our kickoff coverage so we’ve had to sky-kick a lot of balls.

“I think a lot of it is because Jha’Quan (Jackson) has gotten infinitely better as a quarterback. We didn’t throw the ball a lot the other night but we hit on the big ones. That’s what we want to do.”

The Tigers (6-2 overall, including 4-0 in District 7-5A) host a Central Lafourche team (3-5 overall, 1-3 in district) coming off a 34-28 loss to Terrebonne in which the Trojans allowed a 93-yard scoring drive in the final two minutes of the game.

“It’s funny they are sitting here 3-5 because they’ve had chances to win a couple of games,” Saltaformaggio said of the Trojans. “They certainly had Destrehan on the ropes twice in the same game and weren’t able to finish the deal.

“Other than Destrehan, in the time I have been the head coach here, Central Lafourche has played us more difficult than anyone else in our district. They always seem to play very, very well against us.”

In an age of spread teams, the Trojans run a pro-style offense.

“They really do a lot of things that give us problems,” said Saltaformaggio. “They are atypical of a spread team in that they are not throwing the ball every down because they are effective with their zone run game. Then again, saying that, they are a really good RPO (run-pass option) team but not a particularly zone-read team. They do some things schematically that you think wouldn’t make sense but when they put it all together in that system, it makes perfectly good sense.

“They also have some Wing-T principles in that they run buck sweep and belly. I think with those guys, it all starts with having to defend (David) Robinson.”

The multi-talented Robinson lines up all over the field on offense while also playing on defense for Central Lafourche.

“They move him around and get him the ball in a lot of ways. They can get him the ball down the field vertically. They will use him in the RPO game. They will use him on buck sweeps and speed sweeps through motion,” Saltaformaggio explained.

When Robinson is in the backfield, he is generally joined by quarterback Jacob Barker and running back Deon Jenkins.

The Trojans have experience on the offensive line with tackles Jonathan MacCurtrie and Justin Meier, along with center Hobie Gregoire all being seniors.

“What’s impressive about them is their offensive line is really good. Their guys don’t have leverage issues. They are not standing up on the offensive line. They are come off on low pad level. They seem to stick on blocks for awhile,” Saltaformaggio said.

As a pro-style offensive team, the Trojans utilize a tight end.

“We’ve seen that the last couple of weeks. We use our tight ends but it’s been a long time you’ve seen so many teams in our district,” said Saltaformaggio. “Destrehan had a tight end. Thibodaux actually had two tight ends and when we went on the road to play Pearl River, they were a Wing-T team so they definitely used a tight end. East St. John this week was a two, tight-end team at some point.

“We’ve gotten used to seeing tight ends on the field, which is good for us since we are an odd-stack team. It gives us some problems at points but we’ve been able to do some things defensively with our personnel to kind of offset seeing tight ends.”

A young Central Lafourche defense starts six sophomores.

“We start four of them and I’m not a big fan of that. I think sometimes your hand gets forced a little bit in that respect. We’ve had to start them because of injury but if they are good players, they are good players. They seem to hold up well,” Saltaformaggio said.

Among the top defenders for the Trojans are Trevor Allenmand, Dre Crosby, Colyns Harry and Kelvin Sepulveda.

A win Friday over Central Lafourche would clinch at least a tie for the district title for Hahnville but the Tigers have their sights set on even more, according to Saltaformaggio.

“We were 8-2 last year, so we are on pace to continue our improvement of the program. We were 7-3 my first year here and we were third in the district. We were 7-3 my second year here and we were second in the district. We were 8-2 last year and we were district runner-up. If we are 8-2 this year we are district champions. It’s continuous improvement over the last four years,” the Hahnville coach said.

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.