By RYAN ARENA
KENNER — A ‘0’ in the win column this late into a season is the rarest of sights for Hahnville.
But that zero is gone now. And, with the Tigers’ sights squarely set on winning District 8-5A, the month leading up to Thursday’s 20-19 win at Bonnabel hardly matters now.
“No matter what you do before district, three teams are going to be 1-0, and three teams are going to be 0-1,” said Hahnville coach Lou Valdin. “And if you’re 0-1, then you’ve gotta hope for other people to lose a game. This win was major.”
Hahnville had never been 0-2 under Valdin, let alone 0-3 or 0-4. But reemergence of the Tigers’ running game ensured that streak would not extend. Hahnville rushed for over 300 yards, highlighted by the combined efforts of Sergio Medina (26 carries for 166 yards and a touchdown) and Cody Morales (16-130).
Valdin credited both rushers, but first praised the Tigers’ offensive line for its inspired play.
“They showed a lot of pride,” said Valdin. “We turned up the heat and challenged them this week. We weren’t able to run much against McDonogh No. 35. But when you rush for over 300 yards, number one, you have to credit that offensive line.”
He said that Morales and Medina complimented one another and offered a fierce one-two punch.
Medina, a senior, saw his first action of the season at tailback Thursday — he’s generally known as the team’s standout starting middle linebacker.
“Sergio did a great job,” said Valdin. “He brought a lot of speed. Cody dragged guys for extra yards. It was a real good combination and people have been pretty excited about it.”
Easton Melancon scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak in the third quarter, a play that capped a 5-play, 50-yard drive.
The Tigers closed the game out by killing the final three minutes — Morales converted one big first down, then Melancon another before the Tigers could call for the victory formation and kneel on the ball.
“Cody gets a first on … you’d say second effort, but really it was more like a third, fourth, fifth effort. Just a strong, strong run,” said Valdin.
The game wasn’t without drama for Hahnville, which trailed 19-14 at halftime after allowing Bonnabel to convert two turnovers into second quarter scores: Matt Lebeaux’s 81-yard fumble return and Joe Este’s 65-yard interception return.
Hahnville led 7-6 after the first quarter, Medina scoring on a 4-yard run and Kyle Evans scoring for Bonnabel on a 45-yarder.
Melancon and Kailon Carter combined for a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter that put HHS ahead 14-13.