Even Thibodaux coach Chris Dugas had to admit he was having a bit of deja vu from last year’s devastating loss when he saw Hahnville (2-2, 0-1) lining up for a game-tying field goal with 30 seconds left in Friday night’s game.
But Dalton Melancon’s field goal crashed into the left goal post and came tumbling to the ground, giving Thibodaux (4-0, 1-0) a 19-16 victory and continuing their unexpected unbeaten streak to begin the season.
“I was thinking, ‘Here we go again,’ ” Dugas said. “This is a signature win for us. To start the season 1-0 in district is huge for us.”
Thibodaux was paced by solid performances from quarterback Peyton Bonvillain (5-of-8 for 79 yards and 13 rushes for 82 yards) and running back Jaquan Chenier 20 carries for 56 yards and a TD), who both came into Friday night’s game knowing they needed a big game to pull off the win on Hahnville’s home field.
“Me and (Chenier) talked before the game and we knew we had to carry the load,” Bonvillain said. “We’ve been carrying the load load since the beginning of the season and we know everybody looks up to us...If we play well, it lifts up the whole team.”
Thibodaux led 19-7 for the majority of the second half, but Hahnville made a furious comeback in the final three minutes of the game to almost force their way into an overtime game for the third straight week. After Thibodaux intentionally took a safety to avoid having a punt blocked in the back of the endzone, Hahnville went on a quick four-play, 48-yard drive, ending with a 32-yard touchdown grab by Brandon Singleton, making the score 19-16.
Hahnville recovered the ensuing onside kick and drove down the field to within field goal range, but was unable to convert the kick and complete their miraculous comeback.
“It seems like (Hahnville) loves these types of game. It’s (a close game) every week around here,” said Dugas, half-jokingly.
The play of the game came early in the fourth quarter when Hahnville had an opportunity to get a safety on Thibodaux to begin their comeback, but Bonvillain spun off of two tacklers, rolled to his left and threw a 40-yard back-breaking bomb to wide receiver Ronald Lemon.
“(A Hahnville defender) wrapped me up and I was just like, ‘I gotta get out of this,’ ” Bonvillain said. “I saw Lemon wide-open in the middle of the field and I just threw it up. After the play, I was just like, “Wow, I can’t believe I just did that.’
A wild series of events at the end of the first half forced momentum to shift unexpectedly on both teams side within a 30-second span. Hahnville punted the ball away to Thibodaux with eight seconds remaining but Chris Bryant fumbled on the return, allowing Hahnville to recover the ball at the Thibodaux 8-yard line.
Hahnville kicker Matthew Boyer had his 25-yard field goal attempt blocked and Thibodaux defensive back Andy Brown scooped up the loose ball and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown as time expired. After a failed 2-point conversion, Thibodaux led 19-7 going into the half.
Hahnville’s lone score of the first half came after a Chenier fumble gave the ball to the Tigers inside the Thibodaux 20-yard line. Four plays later, Hahnville running back Ricky Preston scampered in from four yards out on a toss play to tie the score at 7 early in the second quarter.