The Hahnville Tigers may have found themselves after Friday night’s 28-6 win over visiting Chalmette in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs in Boutte.
“We talked today in our prayer service about adversity,” Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio said. “I told the kids that I didn’t think we faced any adversity. I think we lost our identity.
“That’s exactly what we went out tonight to reestablish and for us that’s playing good defense and running the football.”
Darryle Evans rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns, with 150 of the yards coming in the first half. Trey Labranch added 51 yards.
“The run game went well and, to me, that’s how you win in the playoffs,” said Saltaformaggio.
“That’s what we need. We’ve made no bones about it all year. We don’t need great quarterback play; we just need good quarterback play. That’s what we got tonight,” Saltaformaggio said.
Meanwhile, the Tigers defense intercepted three passes and held the Owls to 73 yards rushing on 29 attempts and 62 yards passing.
The win advances Hahnville, the No. 21 seed, to the second round against old nemesis Zachary, the No. 5 seed. The Tigers will play at Zachary after its 39-7 win over Live Oak, the No. 28 seed.
Zachary, the two-time defending state champions, defeated Hahnville for the state title in 2017 and knocked off the Tigers in the second round of the playoffs a year ago.
“I talked to Coach (David) Brewerton on the phone and I told him we should just go ahead and schedule ourselves because it seems like we are playing each other every year in the playoffs. If Hahnville is playing Zachary in the playoffs that usually means you have won in the playoffs,” Saltaformaggio said.
Hahnville took a 7-0 lead on a 6-yard touchdown run by Evans with 6:05 remaining in the opening quarter.
A 30-yard touchdown pass from Naquin to Dakota Williams extended the Tigers’ lead to 14-0 at the 7:34 mark of the second quarter.
Hahnville struck again right before halftime when a Channing Canada interception of a Joshua Taylor pass eventually set up an 11-yard run by Evans to put the Tigers on top 21-0 with 1:20 remaining in the second quarter.
Evans’ third touchdown, a 5-yard run at the 5:39 mark of the third quarter made it 28-0.
Chalmette avoided the shutout with an 8-yard touchdown run by Martez Whidby with 2:17 left in the game.
The game was an emotional one for Saltaformaggio, who once coached at Chalmette and has strong ties to the area.
“It was a hard game for me to coach. There was a lot of emotion there. Those people are very, very close to me. I grew up in that area,” Saltaformaggio said.