Hahnville holds off East Ascension in defensive standoff

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hahnville holds off East Ascension in defensive standoff

By Michael Tortorich

GONZALES — In a battle of defenses, Hahnville’s lone touchdown proved to be enough to defeat East Ascension Friday night.

The solitary score came at the 7:49 mark in the first quarter when Hahnville quarterback Brian Ensminger connected with wide receiver Dontrell Strickland.

Powered the rest of the way by its defense, Hahnville held on for a 7-3 win in the District 6-5A opener.

East Ascension’s only points came on a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter by kicker Michael Stafford.

“I can’t say enough about the defense,” Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin said.

He also credited the offense for avoiding turnovers.

A pivotal play came when Hahnville’s defense held East Ascension a yard short on fourth-and-2 with 4:32 remaining. The Hahnville offense then converted a third down and a fourth-and-1.

On the fourth down play, Ensminger picked up the first down on a quarterback keeper, allowing the Tigers to burn the remaining time by taking a knee.

“We gave a great effort, we just couldn’t finish,” East Ascension head coach John Lambert said. “We knew we needed to come in and be methodical and pound the ball. We just didn’t get it into the end zone.”

The defending district champions, Hahnville (4-1) came in ranked No. 8 in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 5A poll. East Ascension (4-2) had a three-game winning streak going into its homecoming game.

After jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, Hahnville’s Linzell Rhodes intercepted a pass. The Tigers could not capitalize on the turnover as they failed to convert a fourth-down pass on the ensuing drive.

After an East Ascension punt backed up Hahnville to its own 2-yard line, Ahmad White converted a third-and-9 on a run to give the Tigers breathing room. The drive ended in a punt just before the half, as the Tigers held a 7-0 lead.

East Ascension put together a drive on its opening possession of the second half, but on third-and-14 the pass to the end zone fell incomplete. The Spartans sent on Stafford to boot a 40-yard field goal at the 4:15 mark in the third quarter.

Just before the end of the quarter, East Ascension pinned the Tigers back again as a punt was downed at the 2. In the early minutes of the fourth, Ensminger converted a fourth-and-1 on a keeper. He then connected with Ronny Green for a long gain, but the drive ended with a punt.

The Spartans started at their own 20 and drove across midfield. With under five minutes to go, the Tigers held the Spartans on fourth down, and was able to burn the remaining time on the ensuing drive.