The teams enter their Class 1A first-round playoff game with 7-3 records.
Both prefer a physical, hard-running brand of ball control football.
That’s why 11th-seeded St. John and No. 22 Hanson Memorial will be looking establish themselves on the field Thursday night.
“This is probably the toughest first-round matchup we’ve had in my four years here,” St. John coach Tut Musemeche said. “When you look at Hanson on film you can see that they play so hard. They’re solid offensively and build on one thing to get to the other. They run lots of formations and give you a lot to prepare for. They do look a lot like us.”
Game time is 7 p.m. at Plaquemine High’s Andrew Canova Stadium.
Musemeche’s Eagles have a potent ground game led by running backs Christian Primeaux and Davante Williams.
Primeaux has 1,460 yards and 23 touchdowns, while Williams has 1,322 yards and 15 TDs. St. John averages 390 rushing yards per game. Getting each player between 15 and 20 carries a game is pivotal. Primeaux and Williams have both rushed for more than 100 yards in nine of SJHS’ 10 games.
That’s why Hanson hopes to use its committee of running backs to keep the ball away from the Eagles.
“The two running backs, Primeaux and Williams, are very good,” Hanson coach Richard Sandusky said. “Their offensive and defensive lines are extremely physical and they help the set the tone, too.
“We’re excited about being in the playoffs and having this chance. We need to be able to control the ball, too.”
Collin Broussard (697 yards, six TDs), Beau Ancona (560 yards, 10 TDs) and Kole Fluke (552 yards, nine TDs) are the top rushers for the Franklin-based Tigers.
“We need to be successful on offense when we have chances to score,” Musemeche said. “Defensively, we’ve got to limit what they do.”
Hanson Memorial vs. St. John
7 p.m. at Plaquemine High’s Canova Stadium
RECORDS: Hanson 7-3; St. John 7-3
LAST WEEK: Hanson beat Gueydan, 46-14; St. John beat Ascension Christian, 59-0.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: HANSON: FB-LB Collin Broussard, RB-DB Kole Fluke, RB-LB Beau Ancona, OL-DL Landen Pillaro; ST. JOHN: RB Christian Primeaux, RB-DB Davante Williams, C Chris Bordelon, OL-Nathan Voisin.
NOTEWORTHY: It will be the seventh Thursday game of the year for St. John, which shares a stadium with 4A Plaquemine High. ... Both teams rely on ball-control offenses. ... St. John is averaging 390 yards rushing per game with Primeaux (1,460 yards, 23 TDs) and Williams (1,322 yards, 15 TDs) leading the way. ... Broussard leads Hanson with 697 rushing yards and six TDs. ... QB Drake Rodriguez (724 passing yards) and WR Chase Businelle (491 yards receiving) are other leaders for Franklin-based Hanson.