Plaquemine opened district play Friday night with a 41-9 home victory over Tara.

The Blue Devils (5-1, 1-0 district) stormed out of the gate, taking a 27-0 lead in the first quarter. Quarterback Herb Thomas scored three touchdowns before leaving with an injury, including a 58-yard run to open the scoring. Thomas’ next touchdown came on a 17-yard pass to tight end Cody Willis.

Thomas’ great night ended quickly, however. He was sandwiched between two Tara defenders at the end of a 10-yard scramble with two minutes left in the first half.

He remained down on the field before being taken off on a stretcher with an apparent hip injury — adding to an already long list of Plaquemine injuries.

“First of all we went into the game with three senior starters out, so we had to have some other guys step up big in their absence,” Plaquemine coach Paul Distefano said. “Herb Thomas had a great night; it was a breakout night at quarterback. We had been trying to build his confidence all year, and he had a bad hip injury.”

The junior quarterback finished the game with 79 rushing yards, 17 passing yards and the three touchdowns.

His replacement, Michael Sproles, had scored a 14-yard touchdown in the first quarter and led the two-minute offense down the field after Thomas’ injury before the Blue Devils missed a field goal as time expired in the first half.

Tara (3-3, 0-1 district) stifled the Plaquemine offense without Thomas, but star running back Chris Avery and the Trojans offense failed to mount much of anything.

Avery finished with 96 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries.

“Plaquemine is good,” Tara coach Terry Washington said. “We knew they were the No. 4 ranked team in the state. They are one of the top teams in the district. They took the fight to us early on in the first and (in) the second quarter. It was like we were gun shy, a deer in the headlights. But once we settled down we came out in the second half, and I thought our guys kept fighting.”

Plaquemine will take its three-game winning streak against Parkview Baptist next Friday. Tara plays against Woodlawn.

“We’ve got some injuries going into Parkview next week,” Distefano said. “I thought all three phases we played pretty well. The main focus this week was reducing penalties, and we had six, which is still too many but that’s a big improvement from what we have been having.”