East St. John falls to Hahnville despite high expectations

Published 12:20 pm Saturday, October 5, 2019


LULING – East St. John went into Friday night’s game against Hahnville with high expectations, but it quickly became evident that the Wildcats had no answer for the Tigers’ defense.

Hahnville held East St. John to 48 yards rushing and 78 yards passing on the night and intercepted Wildcats’ quarterback Sean Shelby three times, returning one for a touchdown on the way to 21-0 victory.  The Wildcats (3-2, 1-1) did not get a first down until 10:33 remained in the the second quarter  when Calvin Gardner ran for 28 yards. It was East St. John’s longest play from scrimmage all night. The Wildcats also punted seven times.

“They wanted it more than we did,” East St. John coach Brandon Brown said. “I was pleased with our total package, we just never could get anything going offensively. They came out with a very good plan. They’re a very good football team. We just have to put this one behind us. Win or lose, you can’t dwell. You can’t let yourself get too high or too low.”

Besides its stifling defense, Hahnville also had a workhorse running back in Darryle Evans. After missing his junior year to a knee injury, the senior is  making up for lost time. He rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries The workhorse accounted for all but 52 yards of the Tigers’ offense and was close to reaching the 200-yard mark until losing a few yards in the game’s final minutes. He didn’t seem to mind.

ESJ starts an offensive drive from deep in the end zone in their 0-21 loss to Hahnville.“I don’t get tired,” Evans said. “Not when my team needs me.”

With the win Hahnville improves to 5-0 for the first time in the Nick Saltaformaggio era and keeps the Tigers in the hunt for the District 7-5A title.

“I told the kids, it popped up on my Facebook memories that it was six years ago tonight that East Jefferson improved to 5-0 for the first time when they beat Jesuit,” Saltaformaggio said, referring to his 2013 season as coach at East Jefferson. The Warriors went on to win the Class 4A state championship that year. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”

The Tigers might if it continues to also get a defensive performance like it did Friday night. Hahnville’s defense also forced four turnovers, including three interceptions. The Tigers’ Brandon Comardelle, who was the running back last year in place of Evans, nabbed two, including one for a 12-yard touchdown.

Both defenses dominated early as the teams exchanged a pair of punts. On their third possession, Hahnville finally broke through, putting together a seven play, 65 yard drive led by Evans. He ran all but one play on the drive, giving Trey Labranche (47 yards on eight carries) a chance to gain 14 yards. But it was Evans who scored from the 14 with 2:13 remaining in the first quarter.

Evans added an 11-yard touchdown with 6:49 remaining in the first half, again running for all by 1- yards of the 46-yard drive.

Early in the third quarter, Hahnville had East St. John backed deep into its own territory when Comardelle stepped in front of a Shelby pass and returned it 12-yards for a touchdown. Four plays into the Wildcats’ next drive, he intercepted another pass in the end zone.