With one win in the last two season, Pickering has a lot to prove if it wants to be a force in district play.
The Red Devils took the first step on Friday night, defeating Northwood-Lena 54-8 at home.
"It was great," Pickering head coach Ryan Russo said. "It seemed like a lot of work from February came to a head last night. I was happy for the players that their hard work and perseverance paid off. I was happy with the way we executed. It wasn't a sloppy game on our part. We did our job and executed well."
The Pickering defense was dominant, forcing five turnovers and allowing just 158 yards.
"They just played hard," Russo said. "We didn't have a lot of film on them because our jamboree got canceled, and we didn't trade. We just had their scrimmage to go off of. They came out didn't do anything they did in the scrimmage. We had to adjust early on, but we found a fit that we liked. We played it the whole night. We didn't really blitz or anything. We just played hard and tackled well."
The first score of the game came off a 35-yard INT return by Evan Bush to go up 7-0, and a 7-yard run by Greg Jones put them up 14-0 early in the first.
From there, the Pickering offense found its groove, going up 46-0 at half with two touchdown throws by Braden Lebato, a 38-yard run by Richard Trotter, a 38-yard run by Deon Street and a 42-yard touchdown run by Jones.
"I think our offense found their legs a little bit," Russo said. "Everybody, understandably so, was a little tight coming out. Until they are start seeing it in person and in game speed, you don't know how they are going to react. I felt like the first series or two was us finding our legs, but once we started to execute like we do in practice, they found out it is just practice under the lights. Logan (Morrison) called a great game and got everyone involved."
As a team, the Red Devils ran for 350 yards on 36 carries.
"That's the guys up front," Russo said. "The offensive line did a great job all night blocking for the backs. We ended up getting three guys significant touches in the game, and they all had success."
Christopher Wooten added a 2-yard run late in the fourth to go up 54-0, and the Red Devils rolled to its first win of the year.
Pickering takes on East Beauregard Thursday night on the road.
"Don't let the score fool you – we had plenty of mistakes," Russo said. "We have a lot to correct. We will get in there Monday with them and correct it. We have a short week, so we'll look at this game film, cut it up and look at a few clips we need work. Then we're on to East Beau. As a coaching staff, we already put last night behind us and are moving forward."