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Hahnville works on passing game with Ehret up next for Tigers

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  • George Becnel
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  • September 05, 2017 - 4:40pm

File photosNick Saltaformaggio has had his Hahnville offense working on the passing game after throwing for zero yards in the Tigers' 41-6 last week over West Jefferson.


Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio said he loves it when his team can run for 425 yards and not have to pass the ball like the Tigers did in last week’s 41-6 victory over West Jefferson – well, not quite.

“We’d like to be able to throw it a little bit. I was a bit flippant when I said it was my kind of stat line because I know somewhere along the line – probably this week – we are not going to rush for 425 yards. It is the kind of football that I like. I think running the football creates toughness within your football program,” the Hahnville coach said.

The Tigers (1-0) look to move to 2-0 on the season when they take on John Ehret at Hoss Memtsas Stadium on Friday night in Harvey.

The Patriots (0-1) are coming off a 47-32 loss to West Monroe.

John Ehret’s football program is in turmoil. Coach Corey Lambert was fired three weeks before the start of the season after allegations of recruiting violations. Assistant coach Del Lee-Collins was named the interim coach. Lee-Collins had previous head coaching experience at Sophie B. Wright.

The Patriots, highly successful in recent years, don’t seem to have changed much during the transition, according to Saltaformaggio.

“I don’t think they are very different from what they were going to be had Corey still been the head coach,” the Hahnville coach said.

With all the questions of eligibility, Saltaformaggio has been scratching his head on how one well-travelled player – one time Hahnville Tiger Lorenzo Penn – can still be playing high school football. He is listed as a senior on John Ehret’s roster.

“This is the transfer for him, which is amazing to me. I would like the LHSAA to explain to me how you start out as a ninth grader at St. Augustine, leave St. Augustine the middle of your ninth grade and transfer to Hahnville; sit out at Hahnville and play games 6-13 at Hahnville; leave Hahnville High School in June between his junior and senior year; play at West Jeff as a eligible player; leave West Jefferson in December of his junior year; and now he’s eligible at John Ehret,” Saltaformaggio recounted.

The Tigers are aware of Ehret players beyond just Penn. Hahnville has scrimmaged the Patriots three-straight years and lost to Ehret 35-18 in the second round of last year’s Class 5A playoffs.

“The big thing for us Friday night is can our perimeter defenders handle their perimeter offensive players, their wide outs and slots. I think we will play pretty good run defense. I know we will play good run defense,” said Saltaformaggio.

One of those perimeter threats is receiver Jammal Houston, a Colorado State commitment. Penn is another receiving threat for the Patriots.

Getting the ball to the perimeter players is touted junior quarterback Travis Mumphrey.

“He’s another one of those spread quarterbacks that can do a multitude of things with his arms and his legs,” Saltaformaggio said. “The big thing for us is when we have an opportunity to get him on the ground, we get him on the ground.

“Playing those guys, you have to match their toughness and match their physicality. With Travis, it’s not just getting him on the ground, we have to hit him pretty hard. We have to put some licks on him. We didn’t do that at all last year. We didn’t hit him very hard.”

Defensively, Saltaformaggio said, the Patriots run well to the ball and play with an attitude.

“On the other side of the ball, can the guys we hang our hat on – which is our five offensive linemen – block their five guys in the box. If we can do that, we will be successful,” the Hahnville coach said.

After a 0 for 2 performance for no yards a week ago, the Tigers have been working on their passing game in preparation for Friday’s game against Ehret.

“We have to be able to throw the balls at Jai’Quan is comfortable throwing. I don’t think he’s comfortable when we drop him back because he has to look at all 53 1/3 (yards, which is the width of a football field) of whatever is in front of him. Maybe we need to roll him out and get him on the edge where he only has to look at a third of the field and cut some of the route depth down so he can read it right away,” Saltaformaggio said.

Improving the passing game as the season moves along is just part of the journey for the Tigers, according to Saltaformaggio.

“It’s a process to get to Week 10.This is just another step in that process and it’s a game that really can catapult us. If we can get out of there with one more point on our side than Ehret; it could catapult us to having a very good year. With that being said, if things don’t go our way, it doesn’t mean anything in the long run. You want to go out and win the next one,” said Saltaformaggio.

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.