One team is coming off of arguably the greatest offensive performance in school history while another’s defense was the story in a shutout victory on the road.
Something is going to have to give Friday night at Sidney Theriot Stadium when Mandeville High welcomes the Hahnville Tigers in the Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar VSN Louisiana North Shore Game of the Week.
Both squads opened the season on the road as Mandeville defeated Poplarville, Miss. 65-35 behind eight passing touchdowns from junior quarterback DeVon Tott. The Tigers went on the road and held a Denham Springs squad to only 91 yards of total offense for the game in a 28-0 dominating victory.
Giving up the play-calling duties in his second season at the helm couldn’t have worked better for Mandeville coach Hutch Gonzales in Week 1, as the Skippers set several school records in the win on the road against Poplarville. Tott finished 19 of 34 on the night for 464 yards passing and eight touchdowns. The junior signal-caller also finished as the Skippers’ leading rusher, carrying five times for 66 more yards.
“It is of course going to be very difficult to improve off of 65 points,” Gonzales said. “Hahnville is not going to give us as favorable of matchups in the secondary as we had in week one against Poplarville. We threw the ball well last week and the receivers executed the way they were supposed to. You don’t go into the game with a plan of we have to score 65 points to win. If that is the case then we are going to be disappointed in a lot of weeks.
“Our expectations this week is to get cleaner in our execution of the game plan. That will give us the opportunity to win. On the other side of the ball, you of course don’t want to allow 35 points. But, looking at that number you also have to take into account the fact that Poplarville runs a wing-t offensive attack that we probably won’t see for the rest of the season. When you start going against offenses that look more like what you see every day in practice, this week will be a good gauge of where our defense really does stand because we will see this style of offense more often and on a more regular basis.”
Tott’s top target was one of the top wide receivers in the greater New Orleans area in senior Will Sheppard. Sheppard hauled in 13 passes for 346 yards and six touchdowns, one of the greatest performances in the history of Louisiana High School football (the state record is 414 yards receiving by Jasper Lee from Delta High School in 2000 against Oak Grove).
On the defensive side of the ball for the Skippers, junior linebacker John O’Connor led the way with 21 total tackles (16 solo), while also recovering a pair of fumbles.
For Nick Saltaformaggio’s squad, coming off of a tumultuous 6-6 season that saw its season come to an end in the second round of the state playoffs to eventual state champion Zachary, the Tigers looked dominant on both sides of the football. Running back Darryle Evans found the end zone three times and his defense limited Denham Springs to 1.85 yards per play (91 total yards in 49 plays).
Hahnville’s ability to pressure the quarterback was the story of the game in their win over the Yellow Jackets. Led by senior defensive tackle and University of Houston commit Adonis Friloux, the Tigers sacked Denham Springs quarterback Luke Lunsford five times.
“We were worried about how we were going to play, how it was going to pan out against a good football team,” Saltaformaggio said in an interview after the game.
“We just had to figure out what we were all about. I felt like we were a good football team. I felt like we were a superb defensive football team. If we can do those things, we’re going to have a good year.”
Be sure to catch all the action on VSNLouisiana.com as Jim Derry, Jr. and Jim Rapier will be on the call from Sidney Theriot Stadium. Click below for the link to the game that is set to begin on Friday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.