Hahnville tackles LaGrange in overtime

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 17, 2009



Hahnville coach Lou Valdin knows he coaches a laid back bunch – never too high, never too low.

It’s not always the best mentality for getting off to a fast start. But when facing adversity, as the Tigers did in their Class 5A bi-district playoff game against LaGrange Friday night, Valdin wouldn’t trade his bunch for anyone.

Hahnville (10-1) erased a 20-0 first deficit lead to eventually force overtime, where a Brian Ensminger 1-yard touchdown run allowed HHS to survive with a 38-32 victory.

“This bunch won’t quit, and they won’t panic,” said Valdin. “What they do is very workmanlike. They know if they go about their business, at the end of 48 minutes, they win more than they lose.”

Shaking off three interceptions, two coming in the first half, Ensminger led the charge back to victory by completing 17-of-29 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns, two going to tight end Byron Gauthier. Blue finished with 90 rushing yards and a touchdown.

After scoring to begin the overtime period, Hahnville elected to go for two over a potential extra point kick.

It was the fourth two-point conversion attempt of the night. Valdin said it was the plan all along.

“We knew they’d go for two. They don’t kick in those situations,” said Valdin. “To us, one point was almost meaningless, since no matter what, they’re going for two.”

It wouldn’t matter. LaGrange couldn’t answer, four passes falling incomplete to end the game.

Hahnville scored 24 points in the second half, including eight big ones late in the fourth quarter that allowed HHS to force overtime – those came on an Alfred Blue 2-yard scoring run and an Ensminger pass to Lloyd Richard for a two-point conversion.

It was the result of a 13-play, 72 yard drive in which Hahnville relied heavily on the “Wildcat” formation.

“They had a lot of trouble defending it. It basically won the game for us,” said Valdin.

LaGrange (7-4) scored early and often on the way to its 20-0 lead. Aaron Sam scored the game’s first touchdown on a 4-yard run. Brandon Williams added another on the ground, a 34-yarder that made it 12-0.

Sam struck again, this time on a 33-yard pass from LaGrange quarterback Derek Ballard. A two-point conversion pass made it 20-0.

“They just outplayed us in the beginning,” said Valdin. “They were the more physical team early on.”

Hahnville finally answered via Ensminger’s arm on his second quarter 5-yard scoring pass to James Butler. But LaGrange responded before halftime on Darius Edwards’ 3-yard touchdown run to make it 26-7.

Valdin noted that LaGrange worked out the field position advantage in the first half.

“We kept having to defend short fields,” he said. “We throw the two interceptions and we fall behind.

In the second half we got going. We played tough ‘D’ and played more on their end of the field.”

The third quarter belonged to the Tigers. Hahnville’s Brion James made it 26-10 after a 26-yard field goal, then Gauthier scored on back-to back possessions on a 28-yard pass, then a 13-yarder, to draw his team within two at 26-24.

“We didn’t turn the ball over, and that’s what turned our fortunes around,” said Valdin.

LaGrange extended the lead to eight in the fourth on the longest play of the night, Williams’ 52-yard reception from Ballard.

But Blue, Ensminger, and the Tiger defense combined to tie, then win the game respectively.

“What this tells my kids is that no matter what happens, they are not out of a ballgame,” said Valdin.