Hahnville does nothing to disappoint in 21-6 win

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 28, 2009


Before Thursday night’s opening contest in the Ed Reed River Parishes Jamboree, Hahnville was considered one of the favorites within Class 5A to be playing in the Superdome come December.

The Tigers did nothing to dispel that notion.

St. James coach Rick Gaille wouldn’t either in the aftermath of his team’s 21-6 exhibition loss to HHS at Destrehan.

“Good grief,” said Gaille, shaking his head. “How good is 11 (James Butler)? How good is four (Alfred Blue)? How good is that center (Alex Brown)? They’ve got 10 of them.”

Indeed, all of the leading players for Hahnville showed their stuff against the Wildcats. Blue was dominant, rushing over, through and around defenders on his way to 106 yards on 17 carries. Butler hauled in four receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown. And new starting quarterback Brien Ensminger gave more than a glimpse of what he’s capable of, completing his first eight passes and 9-of-10 overall for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

He was brutally efficient, just like his team as a whole.

“He’s real cool out there,” said Hahnville coach Lou Valdin. “If we protect him, all he has to do is get the ball to the people to make plays for us…spread it around. But he’s really cool under pressure.”

After stopping St. James on the Wildcats opening possession, Hahnville took over on their own four.

The Tigers proceeded to march right down the field. Blue rushed nine times on the drive for 54 yards, the final three the yardage on his touchdown plunge at the 6:38 mark on the first half to cap the drive.

Hahnville scored despite a clipping penalty on an apparent 18-yard Ensminger to Butler third down touchdown pass that pushed HHS back to third-and-20 from the 35.

But Ensminger found Ahmad White for 14 yards, and a facemask penalty on SJH meant HHS was back in business.

“That 96-yard drive was big. We had to recover from some penalties,” said Valdin. “Last year, every penalty was a drive killing deal. We showed an ability to overcome that.”

St. James made a move on its next drive, reaching the Hahnville 34 after a 45-yard bomb from Antoine Landry to Alonzo Lewis. But that drive stalled. After a punt, HHS took over its own 26 and drove 76 yards before Ensminger flipped a short pass to Lloyd Richard, who scored from 14-yards out to make it 14-0 with seven seconds left in the first half.

It was more of the same early in the second half, as it took Hahnville only 1:19 to drive 59-yards in five plays. Ensminger found Butler on a 21-yard fade route to put points in the board again with 13:41 left in the game.

What seemed like a lost night for the Wildcats was preserved somewhat on its last drive, though. It began at the SJH 3, but things quickly shifted after Alonzo Lewis made the highlight play of the night, a diving belly-flop of a 30-yard catch from Landry. A 16-yard rush by Kenneth Armant and a 28-yard reception by Jaleel Steib set St. James up on the HHS 9, and Steib would punch in a 1-yard score six plays later.

“The last drive of the game, and really the last 10-to-12 minutes of the second half gave us a reason to come to work tomorrow,” said Gaille. “

We got better as we went along, and it should have proven to our guys that when we do what we’re supposed to do, we can be pretty effective.”