Hahnville and Anthony Williams lagged behind visiting St. Amant in the first half of their second-round playoff game Friday.
But they broke loose in the second half.
Williams broke loose for touchdowns of 75 and 53 yards, and the Tigers surged past St. Amant 55-33 to advance to the Class 5A state quarterfinals for the second consecutive season.
“We just gave it to (Williams),” coach Nick Saltaformaggio said when asked whether he opened up the Tigers offense more in the second half. “Our kids blocked, and it was his ability. I don’t know if we’re a dark horse anymore. We’re in the final eight.”
Hahnville next will play Zachary, which beat Dutchtown.
Hahnville outscored St. Amant 34-6 in the second half. Gators quarterback Hayden Mallory passed for 135 of his 286 yards in the second half, but St. Amant could never get going, getting six first downs, five by passing and one on a penalty.
That came after Mallory’s passing staked the Gators to a 27-21 halftime lead.
“We did less,” Saltaformaggio said. “We made him complete his passes in front of us. We gave up the green, but not the purple (end zone).”
St. Amant coach David Oliver said Hahnville’s potent position players simply broke loose, and not finishing drives caught up with his team.
“They had a lot of big plays,” Oliver said. “They scored the first offensive play from scrimmage on a big play. They scored the last play of the first half on a big play, the first play of the third quarter on one and one near the end of the game. We accepted too many field goals instead of touchdowns. That’s a recipe for losing by a few points.”
St. Amant’s Briggs Bourgeois kicked field goals of 33, 35, 42 and 38 without a miss.
Williams’ 75-yard run out of the Wildcat formation tied the score at 27, and after Bourgeois’ 42-yarder at 8:43 of the third, Mike Neal threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Crockett that gave Hahnville the lead for good.
Neal also scrambled for a 9-yard touchdown 15 seconds into the fourth quarter, and Williams sealed the outcome with his 53-yard run, again out of the Wildcat with 4:38 left.
Mallory completed 17 of 28 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Bourgeois kicked two field goals as St. Amant led 27-21 at halftime.
The Gators twice had two-score leads. St. Amant led 17-7 after Mark Darby’s 1-yard scoring run at 9:27 of the second quarter. That was set up by nose tackle Anthony Wilson’s interception of a screen pass at the Hahnville 12 and returning it the 5.
Hahnville, though, drove 80 yards in nine plays, with Neal sneaking in from the 2 at 5:37 of the quarter.
St. Amant pushed the margin to 24-14 at 2:06 on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Mallory to Bourgeois, completing a 78-yard drive. Bourgeois kicked a 35-yard field goal with 55 seconds left after a Hahnville errant option pitch at its 18.
The Tigers came back again. Neal scrambled for 7 seconds before finding Devonte’ Cravin open on the right side at the 10, and Cravin eluded a defender for a 25-yard touchdown reception as the second-quarter clock expired. The PAT attempt was blocked, leaving the teams tied at 27.
Cravin scored the game’s first touchdown, a 53-yard reception, on the first play from scrimmage.