Ford boots game-winner to lift Hahnville past East St. John

Published 11:45 pm Friday, January 11, 2013

RESERVE — Hahnville’s Craig Ford booted a penalty kick in the 57th minute of action on a rainy night of district action — and it was enough.
That goal lifted the Tigers to a 1-0 victory over visiting East St. John Tuesday, a short kick awarded after ESJ was penalized for a handball in the box.
“It was a bad break, a bad luck thing for us,” said East St. John coach Paul Dupuy. “You hate to lose after a tough call like that … We had a lot of opportunities. We had our own penalty kick in the first half that just didn’t go through.
“Everyone played well defensively, and nobody complained or got discouraged with the non-stop rain. We did some good things, but in the end there, we just didn’t come out with the win.”
ESJ’s penalty kick miss came in the first half when Tony Warren hit the post on an attempt.
“He doesn’t usually miss,” said Dupuy. “They’re almost automatic with him.”
The loss denied East St. John (4-14, 3-2) a chance to move to 4-1 in district play and cement a strong first round. Hahnville (5-11, 4-1) moved ahead of ESJ with the win; each team likely needs to finish in the top two of the district in order to advance to the postseason.
Even so, the Wildcats are 3-2 in District 8-I play after starting the season with losses in 12 of its first 13 matches.
“We played a lot of very tough teams early,” said Dupuy. “Even in our two district losses, against Hahnville and earlier against Destrehan, I thought we played pretty well.”
Defense has been a large reason why. In each of the past two matches, ESJ has held the opposition to one or no goals in regulation.
Dupuy said that a number of players are stepping up as stoppers, including Warren, Ian Gibbs and Eric Joseph.
“They’ve locked down the back end,” said Dupuy. “They’re all playing great defense.”
ESJ 4, BONNABEL 3 — The Wildcats defeated Bonnabel last week on penalty kicks after the teams finished regulation and overtime in a scoreless tie.
Warren, Joseph, Ricardo Franco and Greg Burnett each made kicks to spur East St. John to the victory.
“Both teams were really hustling,” said Dupuy. “We each missed opportunities to win before the ‘PK’s’, but both teams played with a lot of hunger.