The McKinleyville Panthers posted one of their biggest wins in some time with a 69-6 victory at Elsie Allen in Santa Rosa on Thursday night.
Having had to endure almost two years between wins before topping San Rafael a week ago, the Mack players had to wait just six more days for their second.
Senior running back Kameron Conlin led a 10-touchdown performance for the Panthers, who scored 20 or more points in each of the first three quarters and improved to 2-2 on the season.
Conlin, who had one touchdown in his first three games of the year, found the end zone four times, and has been a different back the past two weeks, according to his coach.
“Last week was a coming out party for Kameron Conlin,” McKinleyville head coach Keoki Burbank said. “He was a punishing back tonight, and it really paid off for him.”
Caleb Martinez and Kyler Carr each added two rushing touchdowns in the win, while quarterback Jack Patton added another.
One of the highlights for the Panthers was a touchdown run by freshman Conor Berg.
Berg just turned 14 on Tuesday, making him eligible to play in Thursday’s game, and he capped his varsity debut with his first varsity touchdown.
“Our offensive line played amazing tonight,” Burbank said. “(Elsie Allen) played nine in the box and our guys picked up every block. They just did an amazing job.
The line of Nate Ballew, Nick Barnett, Seth Whitwell, Connor Lorrenzen, Tom Locatelli and tight end Mathias Briggs all had a big game on a night when the Panthers threw the ball just twice.
“That six, they dominated the game,” Burbank said. “They made our offense go.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Panthers continued to hold their opponents largely in check as they have in each game this season, with the exception of the St. Bernard’s showdown.
Locatelli led the way on the defensive line, with another strong effort, and the Panthers D has now allowed just one TD in the past nine quarters of play.
“He was a monster,” Burbank said of the 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior. “He had a bunch of tackles for a loss and multiple sacks.”
Barnett and Ballew each also kept pressure on the home QB all night.
Patton, meanwhile, has evolved into the team’s shutdown corner, and lived up to the billing once again, holding Lobos standout receiver Andre Duvall in check.
“He didn’t give up one catch tonight,” Burbank said of Patton.
Despite the lopsided win — against a team that has now won just once in its last 37 games — Burbank says there’s still plenty of room for improvement, as the Panthers get ready for a bye before league play begins in two weeks.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” the head coach said. “I like our team’s confidence level right now, and we’re playing some good football, but we have to keep working.”
Most notably, Burbank would like to see less penalties going forward, although he was pleased with the zero turnovers, something they were focusing on in practice this week.
The Panthers open the Little 4 against Arcata at the Redwood Bowl in two weeks.