For the last couple years of their high school football careers, the class has watched other opponents celebrate victory and have been denied a chance to participate in a playoff game.
This year, though, they are on a mission to change that trend, and so far, they are headed in the right direction with a 3-0 start.
“They’ve grown up,” Hanson head coach Richard Sandusky said of his seniors. “They’ve gotten a year older and a year better, and they’re kind of tired of losing.”
Leadership, senior Kole Fluke said, is something this class isn’t missing.
“Our senior class, the Class of ’12, got a lot of great leaders on it,” Fluke said. “We’re focusing on pride, discipline and character this year. We’re taking care of the good things. We’re doing the right things all the time — (watching) film, treating our injuries, learning blocks, learning positions on the field.”
That mentality has helped the squad achieve its best mark, Sandusky thinks, since the Tigers began the season 5-0 in 2005.
“We (are) coming out each week excited to play and expecting to win,” he said. “We just tried to change the culture and change the mentality.”
The success, senior Zachary Uze said, can be traced back to the squad’s offseason work, five days a week during the summer.
“Sweat and tears, that’s it,” Uze said.
The squad began the season with a bang, snapping a two-year losing streak at home with a 12-7 come-from-behind win against Ascension Catholic.
In week 2 Hanson defeated Catholic-Point Coupee, 34-0, and Class 2A Pine Prairie last week, 28-12.
Adding to the success, Sandusky said is increased participation on this year’s squad. Normally, the squad’s roster averages in the upper 30s to low 40s, but this year 51 players, including a large senior class of 14, came out for the football squad.
The HMS coach said the increased participation is because his staff worked hard to try to get more students out for the football team.
“We did work the hallways a little bit,” he said. “There were a few kids that weren’t playing that should have been and we got them out here, so we’re excited.”
That added depth, Sandusky said, could be beneficial.
“To have 51 on the team is a big thing, because I think we can wear on some people,” he said.
So far, the squad has done much of their damage with their rushing game, totaling 702 yards in three games (234 yards per game).
A quartet of runners with more than 100 yards has led the ground attack —Fluke (37 carries for 198 yards and three touchdowns), junior Collin Broussard (18 carries, 177 yards, two touchdowns) and senior Beau Ancona (35 carries, 154 yards, three touchdowns).
Through the air the Tigers have added 113 yards, 108 of those coming from junior Drake Rodriguez, who has completed six of 21 passes for 108 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Senior Chase Businelle leads the Hanson receivers with four catches for 96 yards a score.
Defensively, the Tigers have been even more impressive, limiting opponents to 141 total yards per game, including 61.3 on the ground.
The squad will try to continue those impressive numbers this week when it faces former district opponent, Class 2A Delcambre High School (0-3) at home today with kickoff set for 7 p.m.
“We’re bringing a lot of faith back to the football team for Hanson Memorial High, and (I) hope we can continue to win on to district and maybe we’ll make it to the playoffs,” Fluke said.