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Hahnville Football: Striving to be ‘uncommon’

BOUTTE — It’s football season in the River Parishes, and every school is preparing for the new year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Over at Hahnville High, the change of a new football season brings in a new coach as well! This year’s team, being headed by Coach Daniel Luquet, is already looking to be another promising team coming off last year’s playoff run.

“We’re just going to keep rockin’ and doing what we’re doing and keep working out,” Luquet said.

Luquet is not a stranger to Hahnville football, having sat under Coach Nick Saltaformaggio as offensive coordinator, and he is looking to keep doing great things at Hahnville. Coming into a powerhouse school with a returning squad, Luquet is excited to be able to be a part of this Tiger team. Inheriting a team with an outstanding record, he feels honored to be here.

“I’m a lifelong St. Charles Parish resident and my thoughts of Hahnville football is of the utmost respect. When you make the playoffs 20 straight years, there’s a reason why. The support you get in this building and in this community is amazing. The community just wraps itself around this team and this school. I’m just excited to be a part of that. It’s a culture thing, and not just a Friday night thing. It’s a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, just everyday thing here. It’s just awesome.”

With LHSAA waiting until Phase Four to begin scrimmage games, high school football programs were left with many questions, including, “Will there be a football season this year?”

An overhead shot shows the football stadium at Hahnville High School. The Tigers were state champions in ’49, ’68, ’72, ’92, ’94 and ’03. They were state runner-ups in 1995 and, most recently, in 2017.

Of course, this weighs heavy on many coaches, parents and players, especially seniors. This is something they are anticipating after the pandemic virtually stopped sports for schools altogether. When asked how the kids were feeling about it, Luquet stated, “You know, for the most part, when you get them here and you get them working out, they’re good because it’s a sense of normalcy. I pulled them aside and told them, ‘This (announcement) changes nothing! We must be out of Phase Three anyway before we can even tackle somebody. You only can control the things you can control, and right now you can only control the two hours you are here working out, controlling football.’ I said, ‘We’re going to do things right, wear a mask, do all the things that we’re supposed to do because that’s what will get us to where we want be and that’s playing football on Friday nights.”

Football is so important for the livelihood of not just these kids but for sports in general when it comes to high school. The Tigers have many kids who are looking forward to getting on the field to solidify their skills for possible recruitment for scholarships to further their education. It’s important to Luquet as well. He has tried very hard to continue to groom them the same, as he would have in any ordinary season, despite the pandemic.

“I have a bunch of kids that really needed that spring and really need the fall season to give themselves an opportunity to get a scholarship and that’s big for them. Each passing day that things don’t change they get nervous because it’s the unknown,” Luquet said.“I’ve told my coaches that we will treat this situation like it’s the summer. We started from scratch like we would coming back from January – March, and we’re just rolling through and continue to phase that through our strength program, then when we get permission to start practice we can tailor that to what it needs to look like going forth. I’m just trying to keep their mindsets on what the task at hand is but try to reassure them. I’m a firm believer we will play football at some point this year.”

The Tigers have been fortunate in that they didn’t lose many kids from last year’s team. Offensively, they have eight young men coming back and Luquet is absolutely delighted about that. Defensively, he said they were changing some things from what the previous coach had implemented but is very optimistic since approximately five young men are coming back with substantial experience. And although he feels they are young on the defensive side, he’s confident in their athleticism. Luquet is assured this Tiger team will make another deep run this year with the makeup of veterans returning.

“We have some very promising stand outs on this team with Andrew Naquin and Reginald Pierre offensively as well as Alijah Hamilton and Shamarr Moses on the defensive end. Some step ups that will also contribute greatly are Trey Labranch, Troy Kendrick, and Corey Lorio. They should have phenomenal a year this year. Be aware of Dakota Williams and Chris Scott this year, you don’t want to sleep on these players this year. We are looking forward to seeing what they contribute this year.

“We were a field goal away from playing on Thanksgiving, and that’s where Hahnville belongs! We belong playing on Thanksgiving because once you’re there, you are a couple games from playing the big game, and that’s where this team has strived to be!”

Luquet has instilled in his team just how to get there this year in his theme.

“We want to be uncommon. If I can find that uncommonness in me, then I can go and do what I have to do. And we tell them that all the time, be uncommon. Football players are uncommon.”

This Tiger team definitely fits the definition of uncommon; there is none like them. This year, look forward to the Tigers pouncing into a great season.