It's time for the Game of the Week, Part II: No. 1 East St. John at No. 9 Hahnville.
After a defensive battle between Catholic-Baton Rouge and Tara on Friday, which Catholic won 14-7, ESJ and Hahnville clash in what is easily the best game of the year so far.
Game time is 3 p.m. at Hahnville. It will be ESJ's season opener. Hahnville beat Central Lafourche 43-7 last Sunday.
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The District 5-5A rival arranged this non-distirct game after originally scheduled game with New Orleans schools were canceled because of Hurricane Katrina. Many plot exist, but the biggest one is high-octane ESJ offense squaring off against an largely inexperienced Hahnville defense.
"Our defense is extreme young," Hahnville coach Lou Valdin said. "At any given time we can have as many as seven or eight 10th graders on defense. We had to replace eight starters. They just need to play. This is going to be a tough test for them because that's the best offense in the state of Louisiana."
Leading the unit is Division I-A prospect Kentrell Lockett, a 6-foot-4 defensive end who is always very active.
ESJ's offense includes several major college prospects, both seniors and juniors. The receiving corps is led by Ricky Dixon, a 1,000-yard receiver a year ago. He is complement by Louis Lee and Roy James. Quarterback Johnnie Thiel is expected to be good in his first year starting for ESJ after leading John Curtis to the Class 4A title game as a freshman and sophomore.
"Same old Hahnville," ESJ coach Larry Dauterive said. "They are solid, well coached. The thing that impresses me about them, you could tell when they started that game against Central Lafourche that they had practiced just two days because they looked sloppy. It was 9-0 at half. But as the game wore on in the second half Hahnville took over. They got in their rhythm. They got in sync."
Another plot in this game is the expected improved play of the ESJ defense. With solid returners on the defensive front, junior linebacker Stefoin Francois patrolling the middle and a deep secondary, the Wildcats should not give up the kind of points they have in the past.
Hahnville will rely on outstanding all-purpose back Terrance Issac, who rushed for 2,000 yards a year ago. Athlete Brian Singleton will also be counted upon.
"They are much better defensively this year," Valdin said. "I saw them in the jamboree and they are very, very fast. They run to the football, very athletic. They do some things a little bit sounder this year. They are much improve in the kicking game."
Much improved is right, when it comes to the kicking game. Venezuelan-born place kicker Radi Jabour doesn't know the finer points of American football, Dauterive said. But he can boot it a mile. And punter Khris Hoffpauir is expected to be good as well.
"For the first time since I've been here we will have a kicking game," Dauterive said. "The kicking game killed us last year against Evangel. Their average starting field position was our 30 yard line. Now, Radi can kick it in the end zone – make people go 80 on us."
A Dauterive-coached ESJ has yet to beat Hahnville in three tries. He gets two this year. In the last two meetings, the Wildcats led late in the game only to eventually lose. Two years ago ESJ led 42-28 in the fourth and lost 52-49 in overtime. Going into that game Hahnville had not been scored upon.
"We can't come out the gate and be lethargic," Dauterive said. "And I don't think we will. It's still East St. John and Hahnville.
"We're trying to get to be like Hahnville. That's what we aim for.
Notes: East St. John will dress out more than 140 players, Larry Dauterive's reward to underclassmen for participating in summer workouts. … ESJ has accepted close to 20 players displaced from school affected by Hurricane Katrina. The most notable addition is Brother Martin RB Johnnie Owens (5-8, 175, Jr) and Sara Reed QB Ryan Singleton, which Dauterive said could see playing time within the next few games. … John Curtis will play East St. John on Sept. 30 in the Patriots' season opener.
When East St. John has the ball:
East St. John offense:
TE Ricky Dixon (6-2, 210, Sr.)
SE Louis Lee (5-10, 175, Sr.)
WR Roy James (6-0, 175, Sr.)
LT Rayford Green (6-0, 260, Sr.)
LG Corwin Ellis (5-10, 220, Sr.)
C Van Small (5-8, 200, Jr.)
RG Josh Millett (5-9, 280, Sr.)
DeQuincy Stembley (6-4, 205, Jr.)
QB Johnny Thiel (5-10, 180, Jr.)
TB Stanley Jackson (5-10, 175, Sr.)
FB Joshuelle Tuesno (5-10, 185, Jr.)
DE Kentrell Lockett (6-4, 240, Sr.)
DE Nathan Lewis (6-1, 250, So.)
DT Tremaine Cannon (6-0, 280, Sr.)
DT Ryan Reed (6-1, 230, So.)
LB Cory Hawkins (5-10, 190, Sr.)
LB Taylor Domageaux (5-8, 170, Jr.)
LB Joseph Banks (5-9, 185, So.)
LB Rochon Thomas (5-8, 175, Jr.)
DB Kemon Jacobs (5-10, 170, Sr.)
DB Shaine Boyle (5-11, 170, Jr.)
DB Kirkland Wilson (6-0, 175, Jr)
When Hahnville has the ball:
TE Jordan Stephany (6-2, 250, Jr.)
SE Gerron Stipe (5-10, 170, Sr.)
OT Kevin Maddox (6-4, 240, Sr.)
OG Tromon Cannon (5-11, 270, Sr.)
C Sam Finn (6-2, 225, Sr.)
OG Jon Cooper (5-10, 205, Sr.)
OT Delmus Tewart (6-2, 265, Sr.)
QB Early James (5-10, 160, Jr.)
RB Ben Pierre (5-10, 190, Sr.)
RB Terrance Issac (5-9, 185, Sr.)
WR Brian Singleton (6-1, 175, Sr.)
East St. John defense:
DE Antoine Fisher (5-10, 225, Sr.)
DE Patrick Compton (6-0, 275, Sr.)
DT Brandon Ross (6-1, 305, So.)
NG Eljerome Bourgeouis (5-8, 220, Sr.)
WLB Josh Woodard (6-2, 210, Sr.)
MLB Kalon Collins (6-0, 210, Sr.)
WLB Stefoine Francois (6-2, 210, Jr.)
CB Kerry Clofer (5-10, 180, Jr.)
CB Lacardo Joseph (5-10, 175, Sr.)
S Derek Parker (5-0, 180, Jr.)
S Dwayne Francis (5-10, 165, Jr.)