LAFAYETTE - McKinley High School looked nothing like the undefeated team that rolled to easy victories and scored 96 points in the first two games of the season.
The Panthers made enough mistakes to earn a stern postgame lecture from coach Robert Signater Sr., following a 26-2 loss at Northside on Friday night.
Signater said McKinley self-destructed after eight penalties, three turnovers and enough missed blocking assignments to warrant the defeat.
The Panthers’ offense generated only 10 rushing yards while Northside intercepted three passes, running back one of those for a 76-yard, second-quarter touchdown .
“Maybe this will act as a learning experience. Maybe we’re not as good as we thought we were,” Signater said.
Meanwhile the result was just the opposite for Northside, which opened the season with a pair of lopsided losses and an offense that was struggling.
Signater said the Vikings’ effort had a lot to do with his team’s performance.
“Northside’s a great team. Not taking anything away from them, we just didn’t play good ball,” Signater said. “They really took it to us. It was almost like we weren’t here tonight. It’s hard to explain.”
The Vikings rushed for 236 yards, with running back Carneski Andrus gaining 113 on 16 carries.
NHS coach Vincent DeRouen said he put his team through a rigorous week of preparation for McKinley.
“We ran them through the gauntlet and we had about eight players who quit and couldn’t take it,” DeRouen said. “I didn’t think we were physical enough in our first two games.
“Looking at McKinley on film, we were terrified. We really challenged our team,” DeRouen said.
First-half problems for the Panthers came offensively and defensively. Offensively, McKinley gained 80 total yards.
The Panthers moved as far as the Vikings’ 24-yard line late in the first quarter, but an 11-yard loss at the 35 on fourth down ended the drive.
Northside’s offense not only scored a pair of touchdowns, but the Vikings gained nearly 200 total yards.
McKinley’s only score of the half came on a Northside kicking game mistake when a punt snap sailed over the head of Vikings punter Traven Lemelle, who pushed the ball out of the end zone with 2:54 remaining.
Northside scored the only touchdown of the first quarter when wide receiver Dilland Guilbeau ran through the Panthers’ secondary and outran the defense for a 58-yard touchdown that ended a 79-yard, four-play drive.
The Vikings moved in front 14-0 after quarterback Jasper Turner, playing in his first game of the season, took a snap from center and leaped into the end zone from a yard away with 8:07 remaining.
Turner’s touchdown ended a 97-yard, 17-play drive that took more than seven minutes off the clock.
Wide receiver Monkurvis Irvin gained 27 yards on a pair of reverses on the drive.
Northside’s final first-half touchdown came when defensive end Devonue Smith intercepted Hayes and ran 76 yards for a TD with 28 seconds left.
The Vikings scored their only second-half touchdown on a 1-yard Kevin Johnson run, which ended a 26-yard drive following Northside’s second interception.