It may have only been a scrimmage, but the Nick Saltaformaggio era is finally underway at Hahnville.
Running his first scrimmage against another opponent in the Northshore Panthers, Saltaformaggio said he was excited to get things going.
“I’m just glad we finally got the chance to hit someone else,” he said. “Of course I was happy to be out here (as Hahnville’s coach), but I’m going to be happier when we are back in the Dome.”
In a controlled scrimmage against another 5A school in Northshore, junior quarterback Mike Neal rushed for a pair of 2-yard touchdowns when both teams’ first teams were on the field Friday in Slidell.
“We played today just like we have been practicing,” Saltaformaggio said. “We practice up-tempo and get after them on defense and we were lazy at times on offense. I thought we played well defensively, but on offense I just thought we wasted too many timeouts and played unenthusiastic at times.
“When the first-team offense was out there I thought we did some things well. The problem has been we don’t have a concept of time during practice because we stop and talk and then when you get out on the field like we did today in a scrimmage, the kids have no concept of time. We have to get better at it.”
A 40-yard field goal by Austin Dixon was the lone score for the Panthers first-team offense. Randy Caire added a late 4-yard touchdown reception when the Panthers second team squad hit the field.
Admitting his squad still has a lot of work ahead of them on both sides of the ball; Saltaformaggio credited his first-team offense for some breakout plays.
“When we did get plays off on time you can see how talented of a football team we have the potential to be,” he said. “We are good where we need to be, and we are very good defensively. Defensively and the kicking game is where I believe we are going to have to win a lot of football games.”
The first-year Hahnville coach also praised his junior quarterback Neal, who led the team with a pair of rushing touchdowns.
“He is very good,” he said. “He has the chance to be outstanding. You could see how much it hurt us when we took him out of the game. It lost us our tempo.”
Running the newly installed triple option, the talented junior quarterback said the Hahnville offense continues to mature with each practice.
“We had a lot of things going well tonight,” Saltaformaggio said. “We pushed the ball and were able to do some positive things. We know what the coaching staff is trying to tell us to do.
“Now it is up to us to go out there and do it. Execution is something we have to continue to try and work on.”
The Tigers open up the regular season at home on Sept. 4 against Salmen