Powered by over 300 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns from Pooka Williams, combined with a dominating performance on defense, Hahnville left Joe Keller Stadium with a 27-0 win and control of District 7-5A.
“We're really playing good, and we're playing really really good defensively,” said Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio. “When you can run the ball, play good defense, and get enough in the passing game you got a shot, and we got a shot.”
Williams set the tone with highlight reel runs all game, but it was his one-handed 50-yard touchdown reception late in the first half that dropped jaws and amazed Williams himself.
“(The defensive back and I were talking back and forth) and I told him, 'This play right here? It's coming to me' I told him it's coming to me,” said Williams. “I said I'm going to have to do it to you. He called for help and I said, 'You're going to need your help.' It was a 9-route and (Hahnville quarterback Jha'Quan Jackson) under threw me and I came back to the ball and I caught it with one hand and he grabbed me while I was catching it with one hand like an Odell Beckham catch.”
Asked if that was the best of his career Williams said, “Yes sir, it was.”
“What I saw on film and all night tonight, (Williams) is the real deal,” said East St. John coach Alden Foster.
The touchdown catch help Hahnville to a 17-0 halftime lead and for Williams was the icing on a 287 rushing yard performance.
Defensively the Tigers shut down the East St. John rushing attack, pressured Wildcats quarterback Duke Crosby all game, and wound up with three interceptions, two from Khalil Mason, the first of which set up Williams' final score, a 6-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Thomas Rasco added a 30-yard field goal (his second of the game) for the only scoring in the fourth quarter.
The win improves Hahnville's record to 6-2, and 4-0 in District 7-5A.
“It goes back to four years of…hard work. I wanted to use the word process but I would have sounded like Nick Saban, but it really is kind of four-years of a process kind of coming to fruition right now,” said Saltaformaggio. “We've had guys leave our program, we've had coaches that have left our program. Now what we have are guys in the program that love Hahnville, that want to play football for Hahnville and this is the end result of it. I really feel like we're getting back to those Hahnville days that the people of the Westbank of St. Charles Parish kind of were yearning for.”
East St. John falls to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the district missing an opportunity for a share of the lead in District 7-5A.
“We missed to many opportunities early and we just couldn't get into rhythm,” said Foster. ” They ran the ball well and came out and took it to us and we didn't execute. We've got to bounce back, there's still two more games against two quality teams (Thibodaux and South Lafourche).”