Despite a season-ending injury, Hahnville QB remains a leader for his team

Hahnville’s Donovan Friloux returns to pass in the 2021 season opener against Destrehan.

When the Hahnville football team scored their first win of the 2022 season, a dramatic 42-41 overtime win over Mandeville, no one was prouder than Donovan Friloux.

The senior quarterback entered the season as the centerpiece of a talented and experienced Tigers offense. This attack was as advertised against Mandeville, but with a change in one specific detail: Friloux didn’t take a picture that night, nor was he dressed to play.

Instead, the senior season he had dreamed of since he was young and the chance to be Hahnville quarterback at the peak of his prep athletic ability were scrapped before the start of the regular season. Friloux suffered a season-ending knee injury against Jesuit in the pre-season jamboree, tearing both his ACL and MCL and spelling the end of his football career at Hahnville.

“It was definitely a big dream for me…always, when I was young,” Friloux said of the Tigers quarterback. “I used to play tackling football when I was young, I always thought about reaching high school and playing. I would come to watch Hahnville play as a kid, watch the exceptional talent play there right before my eyes and I knew, “I want to be that guy.” Even in college, looking at Pooka Williams and thinking, ‘Wow, he’s amazing.’ »

Friloux actually had to do this in Hahnville for a while. As a junior, he started all nine games for the Tigers and helped lead his team to the Class 5A playoffs. The playoff push included a six-game winning streak to close out the regular season after an 0-2 first hole.

The second year was supposed to be his chance to build on that experience – “Everyone’s first year is tough. The second year? You have a little more chemistry with each other,” he said.

But against the Jesuit, he made a cut while running and immediately realized something was wrong.

“I heard it pop,” Friloux said of his knee. “From what everyone said, I knew what had happened. For me, I was trying to elevate myself and trying to think about the best case scenario, not the worst case scenario. But yes, I knew what had happened. I could see it in people’s faces.

Photo by Ellis Alexander

He underwent a knee MRI and the results were confirmed. The season he had dreamed of for so long would never happen.

Despite that, he wouldn’t sulk.

“He came right after and spoke to his teammates, and the message was clear,” said Hahnville head football coach Daniel Luquet. “He said this season wasn’t over. The expectations are the same. Make the playoffs, make a run… It was important for him to be with his guys, to help (back-up quarterback Ryan Gregson) learn the ways. Donovan is still the leader of this team, no matter what cards have been dealt to him. He’s going to perform as best he can, and I’m very proud of him.

Friloux said his first instinct after hearing the bad news about his knee was to find a way to help his teammates.

“My first words after the MRI were ‘How can I help the team?’ I knew I couldn’t be on the pitch. But ever since I was in high school, all my time has been spent on that football field or baseball field. That’s what I know, and that’s my way of dealing with any issues that I might have and things like that. So that’s how can I raise my teammates, because I love them to death,” Friloux said.

“I told them, I ride or I die behind you all. I said to Gregson, there’s no one on this planet I’d rather see take my place but you… it’s football. You are going to go through a lot of adversity. You will and it will be better.

The Week 3 game between Hahnville and Northshore, a 17-10 Tigers win, was the season opener. Friloux wasn’t with the squad – he had knee surgery last week and was at home recovering. He said the game against Mandeville will also be the last he is not with the team, as he will be back on the sidelines. On Friday night, he returned alongside his teammates as the Tigers took on Destrehan.

The surgery was a success – he said his repaired knee would be even stronger than the uninjured one when recovered, and he should be ready to return to athletics in about six months.

“I already feel better like this,” said Friloux.

And while that won’t make him capable of playing football again at Tiger Stadium, Friloux’s refusal to bend in the face of his personal setback and turn adversity into an opportunity to help his team ensured his senior season will never be wasted. – perhaps even setting the kind of positive example that can inspire others within the Tiger program and have a lasting impact for years to come.

“They’re not down on themselves and they don’t ask these ‘what if’ type questions,” Friloux said. “We can continue. We can play football. My teammates are like me. They love soccer. »

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