Green Devils breeze past Livonia in season opener

John Dupont
The Plaquemine defense, seen here on a stop against Livonia quarterback Avery Walker, held the Wildcats to 132 yards total offense. The Green Devils travel Friday to Ferriday.

The Plaquemine Green Devils (7-4A (1-0, 0-0)) came out with a mission to prove they could still dominate in high school football, and they got that point across loud and clear on Friday.

The Green Devils used a multifaceted offensive attack to prove themselves in a 38-7 rout over former district rival Livonia (6-4A (0-1, 0-0)) in the season opener at Andrew Canova Stadium.

PHS tallied 262 yards rushing, powered by senior running back Melvin McClay, who accumulated 176 yards and two touchdowns for the Green Devils, who entered the fray after graduating several key seniors for the 2018 squad.

The Plaquemine defense, meanwhile, kept the Wildcats to a mere 132 yards offense.

"We were concerned coming in because we have a young team, but even the older guys don't have a great deal of varsity experience, but I think we did a pretty good job of coordinating the sidelines," Plaquemine head coach Paul Distefano said. "We have a long way to go, but the defense was the best part of tonight."

PHS held Livonia to seven yards on its first drive and took possession at midfield. A false start penalty and a personal foul against Livonia helped the Green Devil drive, along with a 14-yard keeper by Troy Washington.

A handoff to Melvin McClay opened the door for an 18-yard TD that put PHS ahead 6-0 with 2:15 left in the first quarter after the Green Devils came up short on a conversion pass.

Plaquemine stretched its lead off a Shiban Alheiiari 41-yard field goal just after the start of the second quarter, but PHS pulled far ahead when Washington connected to Darius Cyprian on a 40-yard TD. An A'Tyiriance Battiste 22-yard return on an Avery Walker interception pass, along with an Alheiiari 40-yard field goal put PHS ahead 26-0 at halftime.

McClay scored on a 32-yard scamper in the third quarter, while Devan Luke took a Washington handoff 24 yards for a 38-0 lead with 9:12 left in the game.

The Wildcats prevented the shutout when Walker fired a short pass to D.J. Leonard with 3:06 remaining.

Livonia, the 2014 Class 3A state champion, lost several key players from last year's roster, including three-year starting quarterback Keri Wells.

The Wildcats are trying to fill the void, Livonia head coach Marc Brown said.

"It’s tough going in 4A with what we got, but we got to go forward," he said. "Avery will develop, but it's the depth that concerns me."

Jordan Bailey carried 14 times for 78 yards to lead the Livonia ground game. Walker completed only four of 14 passes for 85 yards, with two interceptions.

PHS travels to Ferriday for Week 2 action, while Livonia hosts West Feliciana.