Most of the contact absorbed by West Ranch running back LaRon Huff came after he’d already dashed for long touchdowns on his first two carries of the season.
After a 32-yard sprint on the Wildcats’ second play from scrimmage, his linemen tracked him to the end zone and mobbed him.
Following a 77-yard burst up the middle, quarterback Colton Mitchell intercepted Huff on the way to the bench and demanded a chest bump.
Huff rattled off 145 of his 173 yards in a big-play first half that propelled the Wildcats to a 55-7 win over Simi Valley at Valencia High on Friday.
“We want the Foothill League to know we’re not to be messed with,” said West Ranch junior Ryan Camacho, who opened the second half with a 97-yard kickoff return touchdown.
Huff scored his third rushing touchdown six minutes later to close the scoring for the Wildcats (1-0), who entered the night seeking revenge.
Simi Valley (0-1) beat West Ranch by two in last year’s season opener, a loss that ultimately robbed the Wildcats of a playoff berth.
Friday held no such drama.
Camacho intercepted a pass, ran for a 35-yard touchdown and caught one pass for 40 yards.
His identical twin brother, Jovan, hauled in four passes for 123 yards from Mitchell, who said earlier this week the plan was to play within himself.
On this night, it was within Mitchell’s power to find Jovan on a 45-yard scoring strike with five minutes left in the first quarter to put the Wildcats up 19-0.
Mitchell hit Jared Staub in stride on a 63-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter, and the quarterback set the halftime score at 39-0 with a 5-yard scamper seconds before the break.
Mitchell completed 9-of-17 passes for 252 yards and two scores in a strong start to the year for a program looking to build on 2016’s momentum.
West Ranch packed out its student section, and the stadium’s buzz fit a team headed for a better finish than last year’s 4-6 overall record.
There will be tougher tests than Friday, when West Ranch rarely gave Simi Valley quarterback Billy Martin a break. The Cats recorded five sacks and a third-quarter safety.
But by then the night belonged to Huff, who with his teammates hustled off the field and out of sight shortly after the final whistle.