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Weather forces lightning-quick trek indoors for Hahnville Tigers

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  • Feature Story
  • By:
  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • August 09, 2017 - 6:42pm

Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio (center) looks on as his Tigers are forced to work indoors on Wednesday afternoon due to lightning strikes near the school.

There was nothing artificial about Hahnville’s practice Wednesday afternoon.

Rain doesn’t affect schools like Hahnville that have artificial turf fields, but lightning is another matter. Several lightning strikes forced the Tigers to go inside for their final day before putting on full gear.

“Today we lifted and came in the gym and just did a little learning. The weather is crazy. It’s August in Louisiana so you get kind of used to it,” Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio said.

Working on the mental part of the game becomes the focus when a football team is forced to go indoors, according to Saltaformaggio.

“We are lucky that we have the multi-purpose room that we can use and we have the big gym and the little gym. Right now we are in the little gym because volleyball (is in the big gym) but we can get some mental reps down and do some formation recognition and work on some blitz assignment and alignment and gap exchange. You can get a little bit done,” the Hahnville coach said.

The Tigers will work out in full pads for the first time Thursday.

“I think intensity level will change,” Saltaformaggio said of putting on the pads. “What’s rough for us, though, we coincide our first day in pads with the first day of school, which is traditionally been a rough day. Kids are in schools making new acquaintances or reacquainting with teachers and other kids in school and then you have to get them focused on what you are doing tomorrow.

“We are going cut our practice time down, try to be a lot more intense and then come out Friday and have a longer practice and then we will scrimmage ourselves early Saturday morning.”

In terms of questions going into the season on offense, the Tigers seem to have found their quarterback in junior Jha’quan Jackson, a converted receiver.

“Going into spring football we were a little worried about quarterback because we had a kid leave,” Saltaformaggio said. “We were sitting kind of wondering what we would do at quarterback. It’s funny, before spring football, there wasn’t anybody who knew who Jha’quan was and he went through spring and summer and went to a bunch of camps and came through with a boatload of offers, the biggest one being Tulane.

“He hasn’t surprised us because we knew what he was as a person on our team, but what has surprised all of us is how well he’s become a quarterback and how quickly he’s become a quarterback.”

Concerns on defense center on size.

“We just don’t have very big kids up front defensively but we have kids who are strong and can run. It will be interesting to see how we hold up as the season goes along,” the Hahnville coach said.

Drawing notice is junior middle linebacker Amonte’ Jernigan.

“His dad is the outside linebacker coach at Tulane and he has become a very special talent for us. I’m excited to see him get on the field and what he can do,” said Saltaformaggio.

Overall, Hahnville’s roster is down from its typical number of about 90 members.

“If there is any negative at all, it’s that our numbers are not typical Hahnville numbers from a team size,” Saltaformaggio said. “We are right at about 70-75 guys. A little bit of that, I take a little pride in that football has just gotten harder and our program has gotten tougher and we have had kids that just couldn’t sustain it and drop out of the program. But the positives far outweigh the negatives. The guys that we have really worked hard and bought into what we are trying to do.”

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.