The Hahnville Tigers have had to make quite a few adjustments this football season — new coach, new offense, new quarterback after three games, then some new wrinkles to the already new offense.
Some have worked better than others. But the ones the Tigers made Friday night helped them put together an impressive third quarter rally to take a 42-26 victory over East St. John in a key District 7-5A game at Joe Keller Stadium in Reserve.
Hahnville (4-3, 2-2) spotted East St. John a 12-0 lead in the first quarter and trailed 26-21 at the half. But in the second half the Tigers scored 21 unanswered points, including a pair of defensive touchdowns, to pull away from the Wildcats (4-3, 3-1).
It was only the second win for Hahnville against East St. John in the last five years. East St. John leads the overall series 19-17.
“We just made some adjustments,” Nick Saltaformaggio said. “Big plays, if we give one up, I’m not happy, but I can live with it. It’s the long drives that eat you up. We didn’t give up any long drives. So I knew if we tweaked one here and tweaked one there and change our coverage a little bit, we’d be OK. You know, it’s a simple game. You know what adjustment we made? We blocked them.”
Last week the Tigers adjusted their triple option to include more of a passing game.
This week, quarterback Austin Perrin passed for 102 yards and one touchdown on only six completions. Devonte Clark rushed for 112 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries and had one receiving touchdown. Devonte Cravin ran for two touchdowns.
“We worked so hard all week,” Perrin said. “We just talked about adversity, adversity. You’ve got to get through it. We struggled at first, but we went through adjustments in the second half. Our o-line just battled. The defense definitely shifted the momentum. ”
After being held to five first downs and 128 yards in the first half, Hahnville finished with 280 yards — but still was outgained by East St. John, which amassed 355 yards. The tandem of Xavier Lewis and Nigel Anderson rushed for 173 yards. Lewis passed for 153 yards and three touchdowns. Ahmani Martin ran for the Wildcats’ first touchdown and caught the second from Lewis.
But it was the back-to-back touchdowns by the defense that really turned the momentum around.
Hahnville trailed 26-21 with 7:58 remaining in the third quarter when Knight stepped in front of a Lewis pass at the 49-yard line and returned it all the way for the touchdown to give the Tigers their first lead of the night. Hahnville stopped East St. John’s next drive at the Tigers 23, but turned the ball over on downs eight plays later.
East St. John took over at its own 22. But on third-and-10, Lewis was hit from behind by Josh Comardelle. The ball came loose and Brown scooped and scored with 1:49 remaining in the third quarter.
The Tigers added another touchdown in the fourth quarter after an 11-play, 94 yard drive capped by Cravin’s push into the end zone with 4:28 remaining in the game.
“That was the turning point,” East St. John coach Phil Banko said of the two defensive touchdowns. “You can’t do that against Hahnville, or any good team for that matter. The earned it. Credit to them.”