Hahnville rolls past St. James

Published 12:26 pm Friday, August 24, 2012




DESTREHAN — Hahnville senior linebacker Sergio Medina was determined to set the tone for the 2012 Tigers’ season, and it didn’t take long for him to find an opportunity to do just that.

Medina laid a crushing hit on St. James quarterback D’kwan Sandolph that forced a fumble and pushed the Wildcats back to their own one early in Thursday’s jamboree game between the teams, a play that helped push Hahnville on to a dominating 37-0 victory in the opening contest of the Ed Reed River Parishes Jamboree.

“We’re better at this point than we were last year,” said Hahnville coach Lou Valdin. “The kids gave us a tough effort tonight. They like playing in this kind of atmosphere.”

Hahnville led 21-0 just 5:46 into the game, taking advantage of a pair of St. James turnovers and a Ricky Preston punt return that gave the Tigers a short field. Hahnville scored its first 21 points on seven plays from scrimmage.

St. James crossed midfield only once in the game.

“We were fortunate to have a short field on offense early there,” said Valdin. “Our defense played tough. “We forced turnovers. And the thing I was really pleased with was that we didn’t turn it over ourselves. We focus on ball security and ending each possession with a kick. Those are always a good thing, especially extra points.”

The Wildcats’ Rashaan Dennis opened the game with a 9-yard rush, but things quickly turned for St. James when Hahnville’s Juvon Murray recovered a fumbled handoff at the SJH 20.

The Tigers handed the ball off three times to Cody Morales, who plowed into the endzone on his third run for a 1-yard score to make it 7-0.

After a three-and-out, Dennis mishandled the snap on a punt attempt and had to take off with it. Hahnville stopped him short of the first, and again HHS took over on the St. James 20. This time, it was Lynn Simmons rushing three times and scoring from 5-yards out to make it 14-0.

St. James faced a third-and-12 on its third possession when Sandolph was flushed from the pocket by two Hahnville pass rushers. Medina shot in as Sandolph rolled right and rocked him, forcing a fumble that was recovered by SJH at its own 1.

“We try to keep him free to make those kind of plays for us. He’s a two-year starter, and we’re counting on him to be one of our defensive playmakers.”

Said Medina, “The coaches have been stressing that the middle linebacker needs to set the tone for the whole defense. I wanted to play with intensity and set the example for the rest of my teammates.”

Preston took the ensuing punt and returned it to the 14, setting up a 1-play Hahnville scoring drive on Easton Melancon’s pass to Kailon Carter for a 14-yard score.

St. James’ best drive of the night saw Dennis break loose for a 33-yard run as he got the corner and raced up the sidelines. The drive ended, though, at the HHS 44 when the Tigers stopped Dennis short on a fourth-and-1 play.

Tailback Todge Scott and backup quarterback Dylan Keller each scored rushing touchdowns in the second half of two and eight yards respectively. Hahnville scored its final two points on a safety when a shotgun snap deep in St. James’ own territory went high and through the endzone.

St. James coach James Bell said that his team has much work to do, particularly noting that it must shore up its pass protection in order to open up the offense more.

“I would have liked to see us have the chance to throw the ball more tonight, but our pass protection just isn’t where it needs to be. We need to work on that so we can throw it more.

“We needed the work tonight and we got it against a 5A team. It was a chance to get some experience.”