The Ehret Patriots started off too slowly by coach Corey Lambert’s standards, not taking advantage of all their opportunities in the first quarter Thursday against Higgins.

That changed in the second quarter. Ehret burried the Hurricanes in a 34-point avalanche on its way to 55-0 District 8-5A victory night at Hoss Memtsas Stadium.

Ehret (4-1, 2-0) notched its third shutout of the season with its big game looming Oct. 9 against Landry-Walker at Behrman Stadium. Higgins fell to 1-4, 1-1.

“Our guys just had to settle down a little bit,” Lambert said. “It’s a rivalry. All those guys went to (middle) school together; they know each other. We just had to settle down and play our game. And I told our coaches, our defense just wants to play loose. Let ’em play loose and just play football.”

Byron James scored on touchdown runs of 8 and 5 yards; backfield mate Juwan Leonard scored on a 4-yard run; and freshman quarterback Travis Mumphry came off the bench to throw two touchdown passes in the quarter as the Patriots went into halftime leading 40-0.

Linebacker Dejon Harris again started at quarterback for Ehret with starter Caron Baham out because of a torn right ACL. However, with Harris primarily a runner, Mumphry put the passing back in the Patriots’ attack, completing 7 of 11 throws for 117 yards.

Not that all that overkill was needed the way Ehret’s defense played.

Led by defensive end Robert Green, nose tackle Dwayne Fisher and linebacker Anthony Hamilton, the Patriots held Higgins to minus-40 yards rushing in the first half. The Patriots had six first downs, but five were by penalties.

The Hurricanes couldn’t pass, either, as Ehret picked off three first-half passes.

“It went bad for us early, but that seems to be our M.O.,” Higgins coach Craig Laborde said. “That’s something we have to fix. We can’t just stop playing football when things don’t do our way.

“We knew that Ehret was pretty stout on defense. And we knew that to have a chance, we’d have to hold their offense in check. We just didn’t execute.”

Or couldn’t. In the first half, the Hurricanes tried to pass but completed just 3 of 16. In the second half, they abandoned that idea but rushed for just 2 yards, as Ehret took up most of the time of possession with its rushing attack.

“They didn’t think we’d be in their faces that fast,” Green said. “They thought they could actually throw the ball.

“We really keep our pride in shutting opponents out. That’s how you get to the Dome.”

Despite 242 yards rushing, Lambert said his team has some work to do in practice this week in preparation for Landry-Walker. Ehret had 135 yards in penalties vs. Higgins.

“We’re going to correct some of these penalties we have, and we’re going to play Ehret ball,” he said. “Landry-Walker is a team like us. They have the same kind of playmakers. It’s going to be a hostile environment.”