Tigers, Fighting Wildcats headed for gridiron collision

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 4, 2001


HAHNVILLE – Hahnville players and coaches see their upcoming game in Destrehan as another battle along their route to clinching another district and ultimately state title.

“I think it will be a little battle, but we should overtake them,” said Tiger linebacker Paris Pierre. He admitted that if he and his teammates don’t make a lot of mistakes, it will be a good close game. “We just need to take care of business,” Pierre continued.

Defensive lineman Nathaniel Jupiter agreed, “If our offense and defense come to play, we’ll have a good chance to win. Other than them being the biggest rival we have, we are just looking at it as another game and may the best team win.”

Continuing with the muted theme, the coaches urged that this would be another week and another game.

“In the big scope, this is just another game,” commented Mark Sims, Hahnville’s special teams coordinator. “We still have four more games in the season to win or lose.”

“But if we don’t win, I’m moving from Norco to Boothville-Venice,” replied the defensive backs coach Frank Harding, who graduated from Destrehan High School in 1993.

Harding admitted that the Wildcats are a surprisingly strong team. He said that the part he looks at most, the opponent’s offensive line, has coaches and players that work hard and expect to win. He said that the Wildcats “won’t give us an inch.”

“This will be another great experience for the community on both sides of the river,” Harding said. “Our Tigers believe and are working very hard. As coaches, we are reaping the product of hard work.”

The fact that the players on both teams personally know each other will prove to be one of the toughest hurdles of Friday’s matchup. Coming from relatively close high schools, most Hahnville and Destrehan students know one another from various festivals and other events. Some have even played on recreational teams with their now rivals.

This will make the game more intense,” said Harding. “Hopefully we can be loose and play our game.”

“It’s another district game,” replied Tigers’ head coach Lou Valdin. “It’s most important because it is the next game that we have to play.”

Valdin said that from a coaching standpoint, he is getting ready to play on of the best teams in the district and that this year it happens to be the Tigers’ rival Wildcats. He pointed out when a team wins six games, the team usually lands a spot in the playoffs. Valdin said he is looking to be “in the driver’s seat” when positions for playoffs come around.

“Defending our district championship and getting into the playoffs is more important than bragging rights,” urged Valdin. He said he knows it will be a big game, especially for the community, but he is trying not to get caught up in the pressure and “hoop-la” surrounding the game.

“We’re not going to change a lot for this game and they are not going to change a lot,” he continued. Valdin said his players will have to stay in their zones and cover their men because the Wildcats have a good run attack, even though they rely mostly on their passing game.

Valdin said his main concern is Destrehan’s quarterback Daniel Luquet. “He’s the guy that makes it all go. He knows the offense well and he’s hard to sack. We are expecting a 48-minute fight because we know that both teams have quick-strike capabilities, so neither is out of the game at any time.”

Players Laron Landry and Ryan Keys agreed, acknowledging that Destrehan, “has a good team. They are probably our first challenge this year.” Keys said that the Tigers’ first string players may have to play the full four quarters, but he is looking forward to the challenge. “We have to come out and play with intensity.”

“This rival is mainly for respect and bragging rights in the district,” replied offensive lineman Jason Rogers.

“We would like to stomp Destrehan,” said Brandon Portera. Portera and his teammates Shawn Landry and Byron Juncher said they are going to watch the films on the Wildcats and practice even harder than they have been for this rival game.

“It’s Tiger time,” said an enthusiastic Michael Harry. “When we go to Destrehan’s field, it’s going to be Tiger world and we don’t take prisoners.”

Jarred Saucier and Durell Marshall said the Tiger team should play hard and not give up for any reason. “We wish the Wildcats good luck and a good game,” they continued. Although they may be cordial, some players believe the Wildcats’ fans will come out only to see their home team lose.

“When your team is undefeated,” said Valdin, “every game is more important. This may turn out to be the longest game because of all the passing, but our team has practiced hard all year. This is why you play and coach high school football,” he continued. “This is as good as it gets.”