Hahnville was eager to impress Friday night against Salmen. It was new coach Nick Saltaformaggio’s regular-season debut, and it was taking place at home.
So, impressive the Tigers were. Hahnville made quick work of the Spartans, winning 35-14.
“It feels great,” Saltaformaggio said of getting his first win at Hahnville. “We played great. Offensively, I think we can be pretty dynamic. We’ve got some things to work on defensively. But it’s about the program. People used to fear coming here, and I want it like that again.”
The Tigers, running Saltaformaggio’s veer option that was the staple of East Jefferson’s march to the Class 4A state championship under him last season, sprinted to a 27-7 halftime lead.
Hahnville scored on its first four possessions. With quick running backs Devonte Craven and Ricky Preston and the power runs of Bradley Aucoin and Drew Dunn mixed in with quarterback Mike Neal, Hahnville piled up 231 rushing yards in the first half.
Things began ominously for Salmen. The Spartans got the ball on their 2-yard line after the kickoff, then fumbled on the second play of the game at the 19. Three plays later, Aucoin scored on a 1-yard plunge.
Neal completed a 70-yard, four-play drive with a 16-yard touchdown run at 4:25 of the first, and Cravin weaved his way on a 27-yard score a minute into the second quarter for a 21-0 lead. Aucoin got his second touchdown — 3 yards up the middle with 6:05 left in the half.
“We didn’t help ourselves out,” Salmen coach Jerry Leonard said. “We knew what to expect as far as athletically what they’d be like. And we knew we couldn’t make those kinds of mistakes and come out here with a victory. Luckily we didn’t let it spiral completely out of control, but it was ugly there for a little bit.”
The Spartans showed a little life by driving 56 yards and scoring with no time left in the first half on an 11-yard pass from Jamie Passaro to Robert Hayes Jr.
Each team scored once in the second half — Preston on a 1-yard dive and the two-point conversion at 3:22 of the third, then Salmen’s Tyrone Jones on a 39-yard pass from Passaro six seconds into the fourth. But by then, Saltaformaggio had begun to play reserves.
The teams combined for 180 yards in penalties, with Hahnville assessed 105. But the Tigers shut down the Spartans’ running game early and held them to 20 yards for the game.
“We’re still spotty,” Saltaformaggio said. “We had a lot of penalties — some I agreed with, some I didn’t agree with.
“But we’ve got to get better each week. That’s what it’s about. Next week, we’ve got Rummel.”