Hahnville seal playoff spot, best Tarpons 30-20

Published 3:31 am Saturday, November 9, 2013

Contributing Writer

The smiles on the faces of Hahnville coach Lou Valdin and quarterback Dylan Keller pretty much said it all Friday night.
After facing so much adversity throughout this football season, both finally had something to smile about. For Valdin, it was his team’s 30-20 come-from-behind victory over South Lafourche in the season-finale to give the Tigers’ their lone win at home this season.
For Keller, it was the return to his role as full-time starter for the first time since injuring his shoulder in the second game of the season against Rummel. Although he did not complete a pass, Keller ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns, including a 50-yard scamper in the final quarter that helped the Tigers seal the win. After trailing 13-7 at the half, Hahnville rallied for three touchdowns in the second half and added a safety to seal their spot in the Class 5A playoffs.
Hahnville finished the regular season 5-5 and 4-3 in District 7-5A. The Tarpons also have secured a spot in the playoffs with a record of 5-5, 4-3.
“It was amazing,” said Keller, who tore a ligament in his left (non-throwing) shoulder late in the second half against Rummel. He has sat all season since, except for a brief return two weeks ago against H.L. Bourgeois. He reinjured the shoulder in that game and sat out last week’s game against Central Lafourche. “It was amazing to come back in this stadium like we did, to run the ball. We had fun, I had fun, we won the game and we did our thing. I had a lot of fun.”
Keller was especially happy with his 50 yard run.
“It’s been a while so it felt new,” Keller said. “It felt like I did it for the first time.”
Tigers running back Lynn Simmons had a good night too, rushing the ball 16 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns. He started the rally with a 34-yard run with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter and capped it with a 37-yard run with 4:31 remaining in the fourth quarter. In between, the Tigers scored a safety when they sacked South Lafourche quarterback Dominick Fillinich in the end zone with 8:42 remaining in the game.
“We’re a double threat (with Keller),” Simmons said. “They don’t know whether to get me or get him. If they stop me, they have to stop him from working the ball. And we’re both good on our feet, we make people miss and we know where the end zone is.”
“I’m just so proud of these seniors,” Valdin said. “And we needed a little momentum going into the playoffs. It sends these seniors out with a win at home. This is a special place. And these kids wanted this one bad. That’s the biggest thing. The one thing with this team, all the bad luck, all the injuries and
all, they never quit on themselves. So I’m real glad for them that they had a chance to get a victory at home.”
The game turned on a crazy sequence of events in the third quarter.
Neither team was moving the ball very well until the Tigers put together a drive in the final five minutes. With 2:57 to play, Simmons scored from 34-yards out to give Hahnville a 14-13 lead.
With 21 seconds remaining in the quarter, South Lafourche punted away to Hahnville, which fumbled the return. Benny Serigny recovered for the Tarpons at the Hahnville 43. But three plays later, the Tarpons fumbled and Ricky Davis recovered at the Hahnville 43. The Tigers drove to the Tarpons’ 13 yard line, but on third and 5, Keller’s pass was intercepted by Laquindin Randle in the end zone, and he returned it to the 3. Three plays later, Hahnville’s Dwain Thomas sacked Fillinich in the end zone for the safety with 9:31 remaining. That gave Hahnville a 16-13 lead..
After the pooch kick, Hahnville got the ball at midfield. And on third-and-9 at the 50, Keller broke free for his second touchdown of the night.
Simmons would add a 37-yard touchdown run with 4:31 remaining to cap the Tigers’ scoring. South Lafourche followed that with a late 80-yard drive. Fillinich connected with Dominic Pitre for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 1:19 remaining in the game.
Hahnville started the night with an impressive 9 play, 63 yard drive that included runs of 16, 13 and 21 yards for Simmons for first downs. But it was Keller who ran in from the 5 with 7:09 remaining in the period for a 7-0 Hahnville lead.
South Lafourche didn’t answer until the second quarter. With a short field to work with, the Tarpons drove 53 yards on seven plays, capped by a 14-yard run by Peyton Guidry. But after Hahnville jumped offsides on the PAT, the Tarpons elected to go for two. Cullen Matherne was tackled behind the line, leaving the Tarpons trailing 7-6.
After Hahnville’s next possession went for negative yardage on four plays, the Tarpons put together an 11 play, 67 yard drive. With 23 seconds remaining in the half, Guidry ran in from the 3 for his second score of the night. After Cy Griffin’s PAT, the Tarpons had a 13-7 lead at the half.
Jake Williams led the Tarpons with 103 yards on 25 carries. Fillinich was 7 of 10 for 82 yards and one touchdown.