Just as Hahnville seemed to regain its running game, the Tigers’ bad aura of 2018 struck again.
Brandon Comardelle had topped 200 yards rushing in Hahnville’s wins the previous two weeks to give new life the running attack and the possibility of potential postseason participation.
In Hahnville’s game last week against East St. John, Comardelle was injured in the first quarter – and so was the Tigers’ run game. Hahnville lost 21-7 to East St. John.
“I’m not surprised. I can tell you that,” Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio said. “It’s just kind of the way it’s going. The positives are our kids are working hard and we still have great attendance. They are still believing that we can win.
“It’s hard to watch the kids. As coaches, we all go through it. Other than J.T. Curtis, we all go through it one point or another. You feel for the kids because the majority of those kids were in the Superdome last year playing it Week 15. To watch it fall apart and so quickly, you hurt for them.”
Comardelle, Darryle Evans and Jace Myers were supposed to be the trio to try and replace the offensive production of Anthony “Pooka” Williams, now a Kansas Jayhawk. Evans was lost in the opening minutes of the season opener. Comardelle suffered a deep hip bruise and may be able to play when Hahnville faces Central Lafourche at 7 p.m. Friday in Mathews.
The Tigers, however, could be down to Myers and Dominique Curley, backs with a different skill set than Comardelle and Evans.
“We lost the speed that went with it,” Saltaformaggio said of the loss of Comardelle and Evans. “The kids we have are good high school kids but they don’t possess a lot of speed. One of them, Dominique Curley, hasn’t played football until this year. Jace Myers is just one of those every-down lunch pail type of kids that will get you some tough yards but he doesn’t have the way to get out of the yard real quickly.”
“They are not the issue,” he continued. “The issue is we don’t know how to block. We know who to block, but we don’t know who to block them. We are not moving the line of scrimmage at all and as a result of not being able to move the line of scrimmage, holes are closing quickly. Last year, ‘Pooka’ would get through it and we wouldn’t need a hole. Even this year, Brandon – and the first half of the first game, Darryle – they were able to get through those small holes because they have a burst.”
At 3-5 overall and 1-3 in District 7-5A play, Hahnville holds the No. 30 spot in the power rankings and likely needs to win out to make the playoffs. Meanwhile, Central Lafourche is 5-3 overall and 1-3 in league play. Holding the No. 18 spot in the power rankings, if Central Lafourche wins out, the Trojans may garner a home game in the opening round of the playoffs.
“It’s really about finishing the year positively and keeping a good mindset in the locker room. If it finished in Week 10 or Week 11 or Week 12, wherever it finishes, look forward to the future,” Saltaformaggio said.
The biggest offensive threat for coach Keith Menard’s Trojans is running back Deon Jenkins, a three-year starter.
“I think I’ve said this before (of other players), he’s been good so long, you think he’s been there seven years,” Saltaformaggio said of Jenkins. “He’s a whole lot like the kid we have playing, Jace Myers. He’s going to run and get tough, tough yards. He doesn’t have the speed to get out of the yard real quickly but because of his toughness and his pad level, he is a hard guy to get down.
“For the first time since I’ve coached against Keith teams, he (Jenkins) is the guy who gets them going. Usually, Keith’s got a good perimeter game and he always has those tall, long receivers that he is running speed sweeps with and he spreads you out that way. Looking at them on film, right now they have some physical size up front offensively and defensively, and it looks like they are more in a downhill run game with Jenkins.”
Central Lafourche’s quarterback is Jacob Barker.
“He’s typical of the Central Lafourche quarterbacks that I’ve seen. He had tremendous command of the offense. He doesn’t make mistakes – he doesn’t throw interceptions or fumble snaps. He’s the field general kind of guy you want at that position. While he doesn’t do anything spectacular, he doesn’t do anything terrible. They seem to clone those guys,”
The Trojans have a receiving corps consisting of tight end Logan Wilcox, Jansen Folse and Peyton Loredo.
“The tight end is the biggest concern. He’s a big kid. He’s really a whole lot like the kid from East St. John last week (Hoxie Brown). It’s a matchup issue for us. We’re a 3-3 Stack football team so we really don’t match up with them at the perimeter play with their kind of size. He has very good hands. When you look at him on film, he’s always popping in the vertical pass game.”
The Trojans have changed defenses from previous years, according to Saltaformaggio.
“In the past, if we weren’t able to block their size, we were able to get to the perimeter with our speed, but we are not there with that right now. We have to do a better job of blocking at the point of attack,” the Hahnville coach said.