His offense was going nowhere. His defense was just about done. And nothing Rummel High School coach Jay Roth had tried so far had worked against Hahnville on Friday night.
But with the Tigers leading 5-0 and less than a minute remaining, Roth dipped into his bag of tricks and came up with a winner.
On second-and-10 at the Rummel 21, Raiders quarterback Chase Fourcade threw to David Hensley, who tossed it to Keith Fulton, who did what no other Raider had been able to do all night — score, with 18 seconds remaining on a 79-yard hook and lateral.
Enrique Carrasquero’s PAT put the finishing touch on a wild 7-5 victory.
“It was all we had left,” Roth said. “It was the only play I had left on my card that had any chance of working. Not a one of them worked all night.
“I don’t know what to tell you. After we scored I was excited, then I felt bad for the other team. We snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.”
And the play had already failed. Roth called it on first down, but Hensley missed the catch.
“I’m thinking, ‘Don’t you think they’re going to catch on Coach?’ ” Hensley said. “In my head, I’m going back to the huddle like, we just ran that on first down.
“Maybe they figured it out. I was surprised it worked.”
Until that point, Hahnville had done just about everything it needed to do to win. The Tigers outrushed, outpassed and outplayed Rummel. Led by running back Lynn Simmons’ 70 yards, Hahnville rushed for 111 yards while the Raiders finished with 57. Not including the touchdown, Rummel’s quarterback tandem of Fourcade and Jordan Nami had gone 1-for-13 for 7 yards. Carrasquero punted eight times.
But all the Tigers had to show for it was a 50-yard field goal by Craig Ford in the second quarter and a blocked punt for a safety in the fourth. An interception and a fumble recovery — not to mention numerous stops by the defense — all went for naught.
Hahnville senior quarterback Dylan Keller was a warrior, taking hit after hit as he rushed for 32 yards on 21 carries. He completed his first five passes for 45 yards, then went 0-for-6 with two interceptions. And it may have been his final performance. With 5:15 remaining, Keller left with a possible broken left collarbone.
“That’s probably our biggest loss,” Hahnville coach Lou Valdin said. “I’m proud of my kids. We found out we can play with anyone in the state. And we played defense every play but one. You can’t let a team like Rummel hang around.”
Hahnville showed early that it wasn’t going to go away quietly. The Tigers’ first possession was a 12-play, 78 yard drive that got to the Rummel 28-yard line with Keller going 5-for-5 before being intercepted by Rummel’s Dwayne Eugene.
Then Hahnville’s defense showed what it could do, holding the Raiders to 7 yards on five plays before forcing a punt.
Hahnville got a break on its second possession. After Ford punted from his own 35-yard line, the Raiders were penalized 15 yards for roughing the kicker. That gave the Tigers a first down at the 50 with 1:46 remaining in the first quarter. Keller wasn’t able to get the Tigers too far into Rummel territory, but it wasn’t necessary. With 11:50 to play in the second half, Ford lined up and nailed a 50-yard field goal.
The score remained 3-0 until the eight-minute mark when Carrasquero dropped back to punt from deep in his own end zone. Hahnville’s Ricky Davis blazed a path toward him and got a hand on the ball, which rolled out of the back of the end zone for the safety.
It was four plays into Hahnville’s ensuing possession when Keller ran around the left end and was hit near the Hahnville sideline. He went to the sideline favoring his left shoulder, threw his helmet to the ground and went to the bench. Hahnville even managed to keep possession when Ricky Davis recovered a muffed punt at the Rummel 31. But the Tigers could not capitalize.
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