Hahnville wanting to be faster, more physical

Published 2:10 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2023

HAHNVILLE — Hahnville comes into the 2023 season wanting to be faster and more physical.

Last year, Hahnville went 6-4 in the regular season and was defeated by Ouachita Parish in the bi-district round of the Division I non-select playoffs.

“We are transitioning with bringing with a new offensive coordinator in Chad Blanchard,” Hahnville coach Daniel Luquet said. “We brought him in from Destrehan. One of things I’ve noticed is that we’ve been too finess on offense, so we’re moving to being more physical, bigger and stronger.”

Luquet, who enters his fifth year with the school and fourth as the head coach, said that Blanchard took last year off, but was an offensive coordinator before that. Prior to that, he was the offensive coordinator and head coach at Patterson.

The offense and defense bring back four players each.

On offense, quarterback Ryan Gregson, running backs C.J. Smith and Chase Brooks and wide receiver Titus White all come back.

Defensively, linebackers Chase Morales and Beau Parker, defensive back Ryan Simmons and lineman Torrey Holly are back.

Starting with the offense, Luquet talked about the group.

“We lose a lot of wide receivers to the next level, but were looking to be less finesse and more physical,” Luquet said. “We’re going to rely a lot on our running backs and offensive line.”

Gregson started at signal caller after an injury to their quarterback.

Last season, Gregson completed 74 of his 144 passes (51.4 percent) for 1.076 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions.

“He’s real cerebral,” Luquet said. “He’s a smart kid. Sky’s the limit. I’m real excited to see how well he does this year.”

Luquet talked about Gregson’s attributes.

“Command of the offense,” Luquet said. “Demeanor is great. I give credit that he’s a two-sport athlete. The moment is never too big. I’m happy we have a guy who is cool calm and collected when thing go fast. We have a guy that can calm everybody down.”

Gregson also plays baseball.

Smith and Brooks are the running backs. Smith ran for 511 yards on 86 carries (5.9 yards per attempt) and 12 touchdowns. Smith also caught three passes for 75 yards (25 yards per catch).

Brooks tallied 335 yards on 41 carries (8.2) and three touchdowns. Brooks also caught three passes for 31 yards (10.3).

“C.J. is the thunder and Chase is the lightning,” Luquet said. “I would not be surprised if they both went over 1,000 yards this year. That’s the goal.”

White is a three-year starter at wide receiver.  White caught 18 passes for 246 yards (13.7) and three touchdowns. White also went 14-for-29 passing (48.3 percent) for 167 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“He’s our most experienced guy on offense,” Luquet said. “He can get away in a phone booth. He’ll learn how to play double covered until our younger guys learn how to become a threat.”

White is joined by Dyron Lorio and Kobe Louis.

On the offensive line, guards Brodie Donnaud and Kenneth Lorio played a lot last year.  Riley Hampton, Kota Verdin, Chris Wilkinson, Khailan McLean and Devin Delpino are battling for spots.

“Probably the biggest offensive line I’ve had since I’ve been here except my first year,” Luquet said. “They’ve worked the hardest. The competition has made them a family and I’m excited to see what they do on Friday nights.”

Luquet said that they have all got different strengths and that it’ll be a rotational thing.

Switching to defense, Luquet said the most talented group is the secondary.

Simmons returns with Will Brown, Raynell Gales, Louis and Xavier Champagne new to the lineup.

“We’re fast and physical, which is the M.O. we’re going for,” Luquet said.

The linebackers are the most experienced. The group includes returners Morales and Parker with Tylen Kalili new to the lineup.

“They’re the most experienced group we’ve got coming back as far as games played,” Luquet said. “They’re hard-nosed.”

Holly comes back on the line with Dahniel Banks, Fred Downing Jr., Caiden Robertson and Cameron Darensbourg starting.

“We’re pretty big up front,” Luquet said. “We’re going to do a lot of stunting and shifting. It’s the M.O., they’re physical. They’re comfortable with the rotation.”

Myles Bore is the punter. Bore is competing with Gabby Touchard for the kicking spot.

Hahnville’s first game is Sept. 1 on the road against Isidore Newman.