ESJ, Hahnville is as close as it gets

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 22, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / September 22, 1999

BOUTTE – In the River Parishes, it has not gotten much better than Hahnville-East St. John the past two seasons.In 1997, it was East St. John coming away with a 45-44 victory as theTigers were stopped on a two-point conversion attempt in the final minute. Last year, the Wildcats made it two in a row, 13-12, when KerryFonseca’s field goal attempt sailed wide. This year it should be more ofthe same for the two closely matched teams as District 7-5A play opens.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Hahnville’s Tiger Stadium.East St. John and Hahnville are coming off different results in their finalpre-district tuneups. The Wildcats (1-2) defeated Warren Easton, 21-7,for their first victory of the season while Hahnville (2-1) dropped its first game of the year against Northside, 25-21.

Jarrod Nabor and Randy Sutherland filled in for the injured Floyd Smith at quarterback for the Wildcats and combined to pass for 119 yards and a touchdown. Sutherland will start Friday’s game after passing for 55 yardsand a touchdown in the second half against Easton.

The running game took pressure off the passing attack Friday night, accounting for 2108 yards on 41 carries. Chuckie Burl was the leadingrusher with 69 yards and a score on 15 carries. Burl has now rushed for309 yards on 58 attempts through three games. Brandon August had 58yards out of the fullback spot Friday.

The defense also stepped up after allowing over 700 yards in the first two games, holding the Eagles to 52 total yards. The Wildcats gave up one bigplay, a 36-yard screen pass from Jamall Major to Danny Butler for the Eagles’ only score. Easton had minus 30 yards rushing in the contest andcommitted three turnovers.

“It helps us mentally,” East St. John coach Ronnie Stephens said of thewin after two late defeats against Lutcher and St. James. “The defenseplayed hard and the offense did what it had to do. It puts us back mentally.We start 0-0 (in district) this week. That’s how we are approaching it.”Hahnville can relate to East St. John’s plight of losing a game late afterNorthside scored with 2:23 left Friday night.

Dawan Landry ran for two touchdowns and threw another to Carl Raymond, his seventh touchdown pass of the season.

“He has come a long way since last year,” Hahnville coach Lou Valdin said of Landry. “He has a lot more confidence than last year and he is a muchbetter runner.”Containing Landry is a key to the game according to Stephens.

“We have to contain their quarterback,” Stephens said. “He does a good jobthrowing the football. They got a good A back (Kade Rogers) and a lot ofspeed at running back. Defensively, they just come after you. They playhard and come after you. They are going to put a lot of pressure on thequarterback and we will have to handle it. We have got to be able to runthe football Friday night.

“Defensively, we have to make them work for everything. We’ve got to beable to contain the big play. The kicking game has been sound and we haveto continue that. We got to play good sound football. If we can do that, wecan play with anybody.”For Hahnville, the key will be containing an offense that has a number of weapons, including Burl, receivers Roydel Williams and Chris Bush and tight ends Terron Charles and Darwin Pittman. Williams is the leadingreceiver in the area in Class 5A with 13 catches for 270 yards and four touchdowns.

“We are going up the best team in our district,” Valdin said. “Everybodytalks about Williams and Bush but they also have Charles and Pittman. Youhave to cover all four so you can’t double team Roydel and Chris. We can’tgive up any big plays. We have to put pressure on the quarterback and stillplay zone defense.

“Williams and Bush, when they catch the ball, we have to get them on the ground. We have to stop the running game. We have to make them have todrive the football and not drop bombs on us. Offensively, we have to keeptheir offense off the field.”Valdin said that the game plan doesn’t change because Smith is out at quarterback.

“Williams, Bush and Charles get the touchdowns,” Valdin said.

“Offensively, they don’t miss a beat because they still have the ability to get the ball into the hands of the players that can make it happen.”The game marks the first time that Valdin will face his former school as a head coach. Valdin coached the Wildcats from 1995-97, leading them toplayoff appearances in 1996-97. But both coaches said that his reunion isnot as important as it being the first district game for both teams.

“It being a district game is more important than I having coached them,” Valdin said. “I know their kids, I know their personnel. But I want to be 1-0 in district more so than me beating East St. John. If it wasn’t a districtgame, it would probably be more important (having been their coach).”Stephens agreed that the game is important enough on its own.

“We are opening up district play and that’s big enough,” Stephens said.

“We are opening on the road and it’s hard enough to win on the road in our league.” East St. John leads 11-8 in the series.The Wildcats won the first sevengames in the series dating back to 1946 before Hahnville won in 1956.

After the Wildcats won three straight from 1957-59, Hahnville rolled off seven straight wins.

The Wildcats hosts Destre-han while Hahnville hosts Central Lafourche Friday.

Return To Sports Stories

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

Internet services provided by NeoSoft.

Best viewed with 3.0 or higher