Hahnville’s joy turns to heartbreak in final seconds of playoff loss at Zachary

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ZACHARY – It was a finish for the ages, coming down to the last play.

It was also a tale of an overwhelming emotional reversal in a matter of seconds or in this case inches.

Hahnville place kicker Tate White, who previously connected on field goals from 31 and 34 yards out in the first half, had a chance to win the Class 5A playoff game against the defending state champions. Down 21-19 with just three seconds to play, White stepped into a 34-yard field goal to send his team to an apparent victory. Tiger players and fans celebrated on the field but no one saw the flag at first for holding.

Forced back on to the field to try again, White’s 44-yard attempt fell just short of the crossbar, flipping the wild celebration from the north sideline to the south side as fifth-seeded Zachary escaped with a 21-19 win Friday night.

“I just thought it was a great high school football game,” Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio said. “Hats off to Zachary. You really gotta work to knock off the reigning champions and I thought we really did. I didn’t agree with the call in the end, but good things are in store for our team.”

Zachary (9-2) will face No. 20 Ruston on the road in the quarterfianls next week after the Bearcats downed East Ascension for their second straight upset win.

“Our guys have played in so many big time football games that they feel comfortable in those type games,” Zachary coach David Brewerton said. “I thought that we all the down to the end right there never panicked and our guys did what they had to do to win. We’re 12-0 on this field in the playoffs in the last six years. Our kids believe in that (advantage) and that’s what gave us the win tonight.”

Hahnville quarterback Drew Naquin completed 8 of 14 for 165 yards and a touchdown while Keilon Brown, his Zachary counterpart, completed 11 of 18 for 199 yards and a pair of touchdowns with two interceptions.

The Broncos took a 14-12 lead into the locker room despite Hahnville’s dominance in time of possession during the first half.

Hahnville’s first score came on a drive that ate up nearly seven minutes, ending with a 34-yard field goal by White.

Darryle Evans helped the Tigers control the ball throughout the night with 29 carries for 126 yards and a score while adding 126 yards receiving on just two grabs including 95-yard touchdown via a screen pass in the third period.

Zachary only had three offensive possessions in the first half but scored on two of those drives. Brown threw a pair of scores before the break, the first to Chris Hilton and the second on a 65-yard pass to Jayden Williams on a bubble screen.

Hahnville’s season ends at 9-3 while Zachary hits the road for the first time in the postseason.

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