LAFAYETTE — There wasn’t much more you could ask of the Class 5A semifinal matchup between 10th-seeded Hahnville and 3rd-seeded Acadiana.
It was one for the ages, an instant classic ... whatever superlative you can think of, this one deserved.
Hahnville overcame a 28-14 halftime deficit to defeat Acadiana 43-42 in overtime.
Anthony “Pooka” Williams continued one of the great postseasons in Louisiana high school history with 239 yards and four touchdowns, including the first of back-to-back kickoff return touchdowns for the Tigers early in the second half, and a touchdown and game-winning 2-point conversion in overtime.
Trailing 28-14 at halftime, Williams returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, racing nearly untouched for the score.
Acadiana counterpunched on Jaylon Borel's quarterback keeper on the ensuing drive to make it 35-21, but Hahnville's Michael Gray returned the ensuing kick 82 yards for a touchdown to bring Hahnville back within 7.
Hahnville tied the game at 35 on its next possession. Williams ran for 62 of his team’s 63 yards, and quarterback Jha’quan Jackson took it the final yard for the tying score.
Neither team scored in the fourth quarter; Acadiana's Noah Anderson came up short on a 39-yard field goal attempt late in regulation.
In overtime, Acadiana took the ball first. Borel scored on a draw, and the kick put the Rams up 42-35.
Then, as he had all night, Williams answered the bell. He went around the right side for the touchdown to bring the Tigers within one. And finally, with an entire stadium knowing he would get the ball, Williams took the handoff, reversed his field, stumbled, and still found his way into the end zone for the conversion and the win.
Now the Tigers head to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to see just how much magic “Pooka” Williams has left. Hahnville will take on Zachary in the Class 5A championship game at 7 p.m. next Saturday night.
Early on, it looked like the Tigers' Cinderella story would not have a happy ending.
The Wreckin' Rams opened the game with a 12-play, 69 yard drive that took more than six minutes off of the clock. Regrick Francis did the heavy lifting, rushing for 40 yards and scoring on a 9-yard reception from Jaylon Borel.
In the second quarter, the two teams went back and forth, exchanging scores on four consecutive drives.
Acadiana took to the air on its second drive. Borel rolled to his left and found Hunter Tabb for a 75-yard catch and run to the 1-yard line. Three plays later, Kablin Shelvin scored, making it 14-0 Acadiana.
Williams got going on the ensuing drive. He ran four times for 68 yards, including a 3-yard score to get Hahnville on the board and cut Acadiana's lead to 14-7.
Dillon Monette answered for the Rams with a 64-yard touchdown run, pushing the lead back to 14. Monette had a team-high 128 yards on 19 carries.
Hahnville went back to the well with Williams. His second 3-yard score made it 21-14 with 2:38 to play in the first half.
That was plenty of time for the Rams, who ran the two-minute drill to perfection. Acadiana went 74 yards with Shelvin getting his second score of the game from a yard out, sending the Rams into the half with a 28-14 lead.
But all that did was set the scene for a second half that Hahnville and "Pooka" Williams will never forget.