Sunday, September 18, 2005

Hahnville rallies past East St. John

Hahnville rallies past East St. John
By Lori Lyons
Staff writer

It was a non-district game played between two district opponents, and it was played during the daytime instead of at night. But it still was a typical Hahnville-East St. John game – with the same result.Hahnville receiver Laron Byrd caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from Tigers quarterback Early James as time expired to give Hahnville a 28-27 victory over East St. John in Boutte on Saturday.James’ Hail Mary pass was tipped by Tigers receiver Brian Singleton into the waiting hands of Byrd, who landed in the end zone.It was the sixth consecutive victory for Hahnville over East St. John, although all of those were district games. Saturday’s game was arranged because both teams were scheduled to play Orleans Parish opponents.The game had to be played during the day because of damage to Hahnville’s stadium lights.“It was typical Hahnville-East St. John football,” said Hahnville coach Lou Valdin, who said he didn’t see the catch or know who caught it. “I couldn’t tell you. I know he was wearing a purple jersey. We just sent four receivers right up the pipe.“We’ve got two basketball players out there. I figured one of them could jump up and catch it.”Byrd, a sophomore, was carried out of the end zone by teammates as the rest of the team rushed onto the field. At the other end, East St. John’s players were sitting, squatting, some lying on the field, stunned by the turn of events.After officials marked off a 15-yard penalty against Hahnville for celebrating, James took a knee on the extra point try to end the game.“The last play of the game, it was just up to everybody,” said Byrd, who had one other catch for three yards in the game. “We just went out and executed. Number 14 (Singleton) tipped it, and I had it in my vision. It was the best play of my life.''James completed 12 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a touchdown.“I had (Singleton) in mind,” he said. “The play was just to throw the ball in the end zone, so that’s what I did.”East St. John hadn't been so close to victory against Hahnville in a while. The Wildcats had scored 27 points in the first half, and quarterback Johnnie Theil had completed all three of his passes 152 yards and two touchdowns. Running back John Owen, who transferred toEast St. John from Brother Martin after the storm, had two carries for 81 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown run. But in the second half, East St. John gained only one first down.Victory seemed within reach when the Wildcats, who were leading 27-20, stopped a Hahnville drive deep in East St. John territory. East St. John's Lacardio Joseph intercepted a pass by James at the goal line but landed on his back at the 1. On the next play, Hahnville’s Carnell James sacked James in the end zone for a safety, cutting East St. John's lead to 27-22.After the kick and an illegal block penalty, Hahnville started its next drive at its 29 with 2:35 to play. James drove the Tigers to the East St. John 30, but a fumbled pitch to running back Terrance Isaac was recovered by East St. John’s Kalen Collins. The Wildcats took over with 1:19 to play.Hahnville’s defense held the Wildcats to six yards on three plays, and East St. John punted.The Tigers had only 16 seconds with which to work. On first down, James connected with Singleton on a 12-yard pass to the Hahnville 49, after which James grounded the ball to stop the clock. Then came the miraculous play.“It was a typical Hahnville-East St. John game,” said Wildcats coach Larry Dauterive, whose team was playing its first game since the River Parishes Jamboree on Aug. 26. “And, as usual, we come out on the losing end. It definitely was a first game for us. But I don’t want to use that as an excuse. They did a great job of adjusting. I can’t take anything away from them. We did the same thing we had been doing (in the second half), they just stopped us.''