The never-ending saga around Hahnville and Andrew Robison’s eligibility added a new chapter earlier in the week.
An arbitrator ruled in favor of Hahnville and Robison, making the senior eligible to play for the Tigers in their regular-season finale against H.L. Bourgeois on Friday night in Houma and into the playoffs.
The arbitrator ruled the finding of illegal recruitment was arbitrary and capricious and that the family did complete a bona fide move.
Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio confirmed Robison would start at quarterback for the Tigers on Friday but offered no other comment on the specific situation.
Aside from everything else, the Tigers have a chance to finish at .500 with a 5-5 record after a 1-4 start. Hahnville holds the No. 24 spot in the unofficial power ratings. Regardless of Friday’s outcome, the Tigers are all but assured a spot in the Class 5A playoffs but will be on the road in the opening round.
“I think it would be fantastic,” Saltaformaggio said of a potential 5-5 finish. “We’ve been playing catchup since the first week of the season. To get the fifth win and get into the playoffs against an opponent that maybe you can beat, will allow us to get to the sixth win. If you get to the sixth win, you can’t have a losing season.
“Being able finish the last end of the season – the back half at 4-1 – no matter what happens in the playoffs, it kind of gives you a better feeling about going into the offseason.”
There is, however, still the matter of beating the Braves on the road. Hahnville goes into Friday’s game 4-5 overall and 2-3 in District 7-5A play. H.L. Bourgeois enters the game 2-7 overall and 1-4 in district action.
“We are not in a position to overlook anybody. This is a team that beat East St. John – we didn’t. That tells you they can show up and beat you on Friday night,” Saltaformaggio said.
Connor Verdin, a senior, has logged a lot of time at quarterback for the Braves in recent years, although he has been playing more wingback for HLB this year. He and sophomore Jordan Ramsey have both seen action behind center this season.
“Their big problem for us is they give you a multiple of formations. They are all over the place formation-wise. As a result of that, it’s hard to get a grasp on what is their bread and butter offensively. Are they a Wing-T team? Are they a double-slot option team? Are they a power run team? We’re almost having to prepare for everything up front in the world defensively,” Saltaformaggio explained.
The speed guy for HLB is D’keyvion Sanders.
“The problem with those guys is identifying where they are going to be,” Saltaformaggio said. “You know Connor Verdin and D’keyvion Sanders will get the ball, but you just don’t know where they will get it from. Sometimes they are playing in the slot. Sometimes they are playing the wing. Sometimes they are playing wildcat quarterback. Sometimes they are playing as the single back in their one-back stuff. They give you this kind of off-set three-back look and there can be two or three in the backfield. Sometimes they are split out as receivers.”
Another player who is used in multiple roles on offense is Durwin Jackson.
“He played a lot of them last year. He was a fullback kind of guy for them last year. He’s another guy they play all over the place,” said Saltaformaggio.
A key defender for the Braves is 6-foot-3, 235-pound Le’kelan Bourgere.
“He’s a big, physical kid on their defensive front,” said Saltaformaggio.
Even with the addition of Robison, the Tigers’ running game still could be the key factor in Friday’s outcome for Hahnville.
Brandon Comardelle scored a touchdown in limited action in the Tigers’ 24-14 win last week over Central Lafourche. Comaradelle, who had back-to-back 200-plus yard rushing games earlier in the season, was questionable for the game against the Trojans after suffering a hip injury the previous week.
“We have to be able to block them up front. We’re not doing a very good job of that. We have to hope that Brandon Comardelle is 100 percent healthy because he’s our burst guy. He’s a guy that can flip field position for us with the ball in his hands,” Saltaformaggio said.