The Hanson Memorial Tigers scored four touchdowns — two off turnovers — and its defense limited Pine Prairie to less than 200 yards in a 28-13 victory Friday.
With the win, Hanson is 3-0. Sandusky thinks it is the best start for the squad since the Tigers began the season 5-0 in 2005.
Win No. 3 came against a squad who Sandusky said was as big and physical in person as they were on film.
“I think we played a pretty good team tonight,” Sandusky said after Friday’s game against the Class 2A opponent. “Their defense (did) a pretty job and denied us of a lot of things that we wanted to do, but we (were) able to catch some breaks and capitalize on some of their mistakes. Also we were able to do some of the things we wanted to do. It wasn’t a pretty win for us, but we’ll take it. We’re 3-0, and we’re excited.”
After allowing Pine Prairie a touchdown on its first drive of the game, the Tigers defense held the home standing Panthers scoreless until late in the fourth quarter.
Offensively, the Tigers scored 14 points apiece in the second and third quarters to seal the victory.
The Hanson defense gave up the lone first half score when Pine Prairie’s Haas Campbell capped a 12 play, 65-yard drive with a 4-yard run with 4:06 left in the first quarter. Joshua Hebert’s extra point attempt was wide left for the 6-0 PPHS lead.
Hanson responded early in the second quarter when quarterback Drake Rodriguez found Chase Businelle for a 37 yard score. Rodriguez barreled his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion and an 8-6 HMS lead with 11:15 remaining.
Rodriguez completed 2 of 9 passes for 45 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
Businelle caught both passes for 45 yards.
Hanson added its second touchdown exactly five minutes after its first when its special teams unit recovered a fumble at the Pine Prairie 8 on a punt attempt by the Panthers.
On fourth and goal from the Panther 5, HMS senior Kole Fluke scored on a 5 yard run and a 14-6 HMS lead.
HMS scored its two second half touchdowns late in the third quarter, first on a Hayden Judice 15 yard run with 1:39 left in the quarter and again with 33 second remaining in the period on a Beau Ancona 4-yard run. The second score was set up by a Mason Tibbs recovery of Maverick Fontenot’s fumble at the Panther 18-yard line. Rodriguez completed a 2-point pass to Ancona on the first score, while Businelle couldn’t complete the extra point on the second play for a 28-6 lead with 33 seconds left in the third quarter.
Broussard led the HMS offense with 65 yards on eight carries, while Judice added six carries for 49 yards and a score. Ancona added 10 carries for 40 yards and a score, while Fluke chipped in nine carries for 26 yards and a score.
“I want to thank my linemen (for) doing a good job blocking on offense,” Fluke said.
The HMS defense limited the Panthers offense to no more than four downs on eight of its 12 offensive possessions, including three of six possessions in the second half.
The Panthers finally got things going in the fourth quarter through the air as quarterback Chris Bradley completed six of 11 passes for 86 yards, including a touchdown with 2:32 remaining to Gijuan Anderson. The Panthers’ 2 point run failed for the 28-12 final.
“Our defense has been playing pretty good the first three weeks,” Sandusky said. “To get out of here giving up 12, I think we feel pretty good. (We had) some youngsters in there at the end getting some guys some reps. We still would have liked to have kept it at 6, but hats off to them for finishing the game off like that.”
For the game, Bradley completed 11 of 25 passes for 117 yards and a score, while Anderson led the Panthers’ receivers with six receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Hanson rolled up 254 yards of total offense — 209 rushing and 45 passing.
Its defense limited the Panther offense to 67 rushing yards and 117 more through the air.
“Our defense is real strong,” Zachary Uze said. “We got a real big heavy front. Our linebackers are real strong. We’ve just got the intensity to not let anybody go. That’s how we play.”
Hanson returns to action on Thursday when it hosts another Class 2A opponent, Delcambre High.