It was not the most elaborate of game plans for McKinley High School.
Run Larry Moore, then run Patrick Green. Repeat.
In the end, that would simply be all the Panthers would need on a homecoming Friday night to blow by the visiting Opelousas Tigers, 42-0.
The duo combined for 203 rushing yards and five touchdowns and teamed with stellar offensive line play to decide the outcome by the half.
The Panthers (2-1) will try to repeat that success next week against Central. Opelousas (1-2) hosts Eunice.
“This is a big win for us,” McKinley coach Robert Signater said. “We still remember kind of letting one get away from us against Scotlandville. That first (OHS) drive tonight, we were shaky. But we settled down. ... They didn’t let homecoming affect their focus all week or in the game. Now we’ve got film and preparation to do for Central.”
There were signs early this night would belong to MHS. The first, an eight-play, 75-yard drive almost exclusively featuring the running back tandem of Moore and Green and culminated in a Jaylon Johnson 12-yard catch in the end zone’s right corner to stake the Panthers to a 7-0 lead at the 2:33 mark of the first quarter.
Five of eight plays on the drive netted first downs.
After the Panthers defense forced a three-and-out, the offense took advantage. This time, McKinley went to the air as quarterback Travion Alexander turned a broken play into a 28-yard catch-and-run hookup with receiver Brandon Butler.
The advantage remained 13-0 after a blocked point-after attempt.
After a second-straight OHS three-and-out, the opportunistic Panthers got back to work.
This time, back on the ground. And with one play.
Moore burst around left tackle and outran defenders 47 yards to the end zone and touched off a frenzy by the homecoming crowd.
Moore completed a two-point conversion run to make it 21-0 with 5:50 to go before half.
“We respect every opponent we play, so it didn’t matter when we got ahead early,” Moore said. “It’s good to get the win, but I know we can do better. I know I can do better . ... This win will be big for us.”
Opelousas appeared poised to generate it’s own ground momentum, when on the ensuing drive when a 15-yard and 13-yard runs sandwiched around a 12-yard Darius Berard catch. A lost fumble recovered by McKinley linebacker Jermaine Terrance snuffed out the drive.
On the Tigers’ first second-half drive, an attempt to generate a spark backfired when OHS failed to convert a fake punt.
Taking over at the OHS 40, the Panthers drive stalled. A 37-yard field goal miss by MHS kicker Aden Lopez was discounted by a running-into-the-kicker penalty.
That led to another Moore TD run, this time from 14 yards to put his team up 28-0 at the 7:45 mark of the third.
The ensuing kickoff another Opelousas special teams error lead to an MHS score. A fumbled return set up the Panthers at the Tigers 10.
Green scored the second of his three touchdowns from three bruising yards out to extend to a 34-0 lead.
“We didn’t come ready to play,” Opelousas coach Quentin Payne said. “We just had a bad night. We’ve got small numbers and kids started having (heat) issues, but we’ve still got to improve. I’m proud of their effort, but we’ve got to get better as the season goes on.”