Hahnville shuts down Spartans, 31-8
With their offense kept in check Friday night, the East Ascension Spartans were unable to capitalize on two big special teams plays and fell to District 6-5A rival Hahnville 31-8 at Spartan Stadium.
The loss dropped East Ascension’s overall record to 1-5 on the season and 0-2 in league play heading into Friday’s district match-up with parish rival St. Amant.
Hahnville upped its record to 4-2 overall on the season with the victory and evened its district record at 1-1. The Tigers will host another Ascension Parish team, No. 5 Dutchtown, in district play Friday night.
“We’ve had the same problem tonight that we’ve had all year on offense - not completing our passes,” said East Ascension head coach John Lambert, who served as an assistant at Hahnville before taking over the Spartan program two years ago. “We’ve got to get to a point where we can execute. Right now, we don’t have that.”
The Spartans netted a total of 77 yards through the air between senior starting quarterback Emerson Foster and junior backup Mike Oubre, who was listed as a wide receiver. Foster completed only five of 19 pass attempts on the night for 43 yards and threw three interceptions.
Oubre, who came into the game during the fourth quarter, completed one of his two passes on a 34-yard touchdown pass to senior running back Avery Williams.
Williams supplied most of East Ascension’s offense on the night, carrying 20 times for 91 yards to go with the 34-yard touchdown reception. Senior wideout Brandon Day also caught three passes for 31 yards.
The Spartans finished with 168 total yards on offense, while Hahnville racked up 256 yards.
For Hahnville, running back Jai Steib collected 103 yards on 23 carries, three of which went for touchdowns. Alfred Blue rushed five times for 48 yards, while Lloyd Richard gained 26 yards on four carries.
Through the air, Hahnville gained 67 yards of offense. Starting back Guiseppe Crovetto completed three of his 10 pass attempts for 61 yards. Steib, who also took direct snaps in the “wildcat” formation, completed one pass for five yards. Receiver James Butler led the Tigers with 52 yards on two catches.
The Spartans showed discipline in only being penalized once for 10 yards, while Hahnville lost 63 yards from infractions.
After forcing East Ascension to punt on the game’s first possession, Hahnville started at the Spartan 44 and drove down the field. Steib later crossed the goal line from a yard out to crack the scoreboard. Kicker Brandon Larousse added the extra point to put Hahnville ahead 7-0 with seven minutes left in the first quarter.
Hahnville added its second touchdown on its next possession, when Steib again found the end zone from a yard out on a 30-yard, eight-play drive. Larousse’s kick upped the Tigers’ lead to 14-0 with just under three minutes remaining in the quarter.
East Ascension’s first drive of the second quarter ended when Foster had a deep pass intercepted at the Tiger 16 by Hahnville’s Antoine Evans.
On the ensuing drive, the Spartans’ special teams denied Hahnville on a 42-yard field goal attempt. Matt Richard blocked Larousse’s kick, with Trey Griggs falling on the loose ball at the Spartan 35 to give East Ascension the ball back. However, the ensuing drive went for naught as Stafford later missed a 33-yard field goal attempt.
Taking over at its own 20, Hahnville pushed its way down the field and capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive with Stieb’s third touchdown of the night, a 7-yard run up the middle. Combined with a successful PAT kick by Larousse, Hahnville increased its lead to 21-0 just before halftime.
Hahnville again added to its lead on the first possession of the second half when Larousse boomed a 49-yard field goal through the uprights. The Tigers moved their lead to 21-0 with just over seven minutes on the clock in the quarter.
On the Spartans’ next possession, Foster had a pass intercepted by John County and returned to the East Ascension 21. A sack on Tiger backup quarterback Steve Ensminger and an illegal push penalty forced Hahnville to attempt a 50-yard field goal, which Larousse missed to keep the score at 21-0 with just under six minutes left in the quarter.
Stalling at midfield on their next drive, Stafford drilled a 47-yard punt that pinned Hahnville back at its 2-yard line. A personal foul penalty on the kick pushed the Tigers back another yard, which led to Crovetto fumbling into the end zone on a second-down run. He fell on the ball, which gave the Spartans a safety and made the score 24-2 with 1:40 remaining in the third quarter.
As the fourth quarter began, Hahnville forced East Ascension to attempt a punt after holding at the Spartan 9. The Tigers blocked Stafford’s punt attempt, recovering the ball just outside the end zone. Crovetto then called his own number and snuck across the goal line for the touchdown. With Larousse’s kick, the Spartans stared up at a 31-2 deficit at the 11:40 mark.
East Ascension mounted a sustained drive on its next possession, reaching the Tiger 9 before turning the ball over on downs after Williams was stopped in the backfield.
Foster saw his third interception come on another deep pass attempt, this time from the Tiger 41, when Justin Byrd picked off the pass at the Hahnville 6.
The Spartans found the end zone on their next drive, when Oubre connected with Williams on a 34-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Oubre’s pass fell incomplete on the two-point conversion attempt, capping the scoring at 31-8.
“We needed this win,” said Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin, whose team fell to defending Class 5A Champion Destrehan the week prior. “John and I know each other pretty well, so we both did some things that the other didn’t expect. They got us a few times on special teams, but our guys were able to move the ball more successfully. That’s what it came down to.”
Lambert said that while his team showed determination in all aspects of the game, he feels they need to improve on many aspects.
“Special teams did well, but they can’t always win the game for you,” Lambert said. “Our defense made some good stops, but we gave up some big plays as well. We have a lot of things we need to look at and make better. My coaches and I believe in these guys and they believe in themselves. We know we can improve.”