Hahnville tops ESJH in District battle; WSJH, Riverside & SCC earn victories

Published 11:03 pm Friday, October 20, 2017

LAPLACE — Hahnville took firm control of the District 7-5A driver’s seat Friday night with an impressive 27-0 victory over East St. John at Joe Keller Stadium in LaPlace.

And it was the Tigers’ Anthony “Pooka” Williams who drove the bus.

The metro area’s leading rusher added to his highlight reel, rushing for 280 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jha’quan Jackson.

Thomas Rasco added a pair of field goals and was 3-for-3 on extra points to account for the rest of Hahnville’s points.

With the win, Hahnville improves to 6-2, 4-0 and controls its own destiny in District 7-5A.

“We can’t let our foot off the gas,” Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio said. “I grew up around the Fairgrounds and I remember people telling me all the time, the jockey whips the horse that’s out in front. He doesn’t whip the horse when he’s 20 lengths behind. Our horse is out front, but we gotta keep him there.”

If the Tigers had a workhorse Friday, it certainly was Williams. Only three other players touched the ball, not counting Jackson, who rushed for 78 yards on 11 carries. He threw only five passes. One went for a 50-yard touchdown to Williams and one was intercepted by East St. John’s Howard Joseph. The rest fell incomplete.

As for Williams, some of his most impressive runs came on non-scoring plays, including a 72-yard zigging, zagging run from the Hahnville 5 to the Wildcats 13. He ran another from the Tigers’ 38 to the Wildcats 10.

“He’s Pooka,” East St. John coach Aldon Foster said with a shrug. “He is as advertised.”

East St. John, meanwhile, failed to capitalize on the few opportunities it had. The Wildcats moved the ball well against the Tigers’ defense at times. Wildcats Quarterback Duke Crosby completed 12 of 35 passes for 102 yards but was intercepted three times. He also ran for 68 yards.

East St. John took the opening kickoff and drove 79 yards on 14 plays. But on fourth-and-goal at the 1, Crosby was stopped and the Cats had to turn the ball over on downs.

It didn’t take Hahnville long to move up the field, thanks to Williams’ big run on second down. But the Tigers stalled at the Wildcats 10 and had to settle for a 28-yard Rasco field goal.

The Tigers made it 10-0 early in the second quarter after Williams ran from the 38 to the East St. John 10. On second down, he walked into the end zone from the 4.

Hahnville increased the lead to 17-0 with 30 seconds remaining in the half when Williams outjumped a pair of Wildcats defenders (one of whom was called for pass interference) to nab a 50-yard touchdown pass — one-handed.

The Tigers’ next score was set up by the first of Khalil Mason’s two interceptions of the night. After a penalty gave Hahnville the ball at the 3, Williams scored easily with 6:12 remaining in the third quarter.

Rasco added a 30-yard field goal with 10:13 remaining.

Foster told his team the season wasn’t over and to be ready to get back to work Saturday morning.

“We just didn’t execute,” Foster said. “We missed on a lot of opportunities. You can do that against this type of team.”

St. Charles Catholic – 40, Haynes Academy – 0

Before Friday’s game, SCC head coach Frank Monica said his team needed to focus on itself and the fundamentals of football.

That script played well for the Comets, who went on the road and dominated an undermanned Haynes Academy, 40-0.

Senior Trey Joseph struck first for the Comets, scoring an 81-yard kickoff return touchdown on the game’s opening play, foretelling a one-sided contest.

In all, SCC scored four first quarter touchdowns (one from Phillip Tran and two more from freshman Keenan Gauff) before a running clock was used in the second quarter.

Trey Lowry also scored a touchdown for the Comets.

Riverside – 42, Fisher – 6

A big victory tends to come via many contributors.

The Rebels home win (42-6) over Fisher Friday night was no exception, with coach Chris Lachney adding that just about everyone who touched the ball performed well.

Highlights included several sacks on defense and a punt return touchdown to go along with numerous offensive strikes.

“We represented ourselves in a very positive way,” Lachney said. “Our kids played with a little chip on their shoulders and came out very focused.

“The game got put away very quickly, as far as the outcome, but our kids stayed focused. Even when we were subbing in some of the backup players, they kept playing well. We started and finished the game on a very positive note.”

West St. John – 45, Varnado – 0

Total domination from beginning to end is the best way to describe West St. John High’s conest Friday in Edgard against Varnado High School.

When it was over, the Rams walked away with a 45-0 victory, improving their record to 6-2 and 3-0 in District play, dominating last year’s District champ in the process.

Coach Brandon Walkers was honest with his team before Friday’s game in saying Varnado was a strong team that would give the Rams a true test.

WSJH aced the test.

“Those guys didn’t want to relinquish the District championship lightly,” Walters said. “I’m definitely impressed with the team win. These guys are really playing tough, really playing hard.”

Following the victory, Walters said he couldn’t pick which side of the ball played better (offense or defense) but did say the Rams committed too many penalties, something that must be improved before the playoffs.

“(Varnado) definitely pushed us; they definitely came out and played,” Walters said. “I always find some fault in what we are doing. That helps us get better.”