Saturday's football game between Friends and McPherson hadn't even finished by the time a theme established on the Friends sideline.
More than one coach turned to the person nearest him and said, "They're just better than us."
Even though McPherson proved that with a 52-20 win in which the Bulldogs led by as many as 46 points, it was a difficult admission for Friends to make.
"It is when you're as competitive as I am and this coaching staff is and you hope your team is," Friends coach Monty Lewis said. "And we're not yet. I think the coaching staff is a little more competitive than the players, but that's our job to instill that in them."
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The 12th-ranked Bulldogs improved to 2-0, beating No. 15 Friends in the Falcons' season opener behind the quarterback-receiver tandem of Shane Mascarenas and Andy Skinner.
The two connected on a 75-yard touchdown on McPherson's first series. Skinner caught a short pass and turned around to find an open field.
"It was pretty surprising," Skinner said.
The rest of Skinner's night was about as easy. He caught everything thrown near him and used his speed to break away from defenders.
Skinner finished with 268 receiving yards and three touchdowns, and he added a 24-yard touchdown run. All of Skinner's scores came in the first half, when McPherson built a 42-6 lead.
"It's amazing," Skinner said. "It felt great to put up a lot of points, put up a lot of stats. But in the end it just goes back to the team — Shane putting them in the right spots and the line giving him time."
Friends drove to McPherson's 14-yard line on the opening series before Jayme Bristow threw a touchdown in the end zone.
McPherson began to pull away after that and Friends never got a chance to enjoy its relatively minor accomplishments because they were quickly erased.
After Jeran Trotter returned a kickoff to midfield, he fumbled on the next play. When Friends pinned McPherson deep on a punt late in the first half, the Bulldogs drove 87 yards in 27 seconds for a touchdown.
"It just proves that (last year's 60-48 McPherson win over Friends) wasn't a fluke," Skinner said. "That's all they've been talking about. We wanted to come out here and make a statement."
McPherson (1-0, 2-0) 14 28 10 0 — 52 Friends (0-1, 0-1) 0 6 0 14 — 20
M—Skinner 75 pass from Mascarenas (Eason kick)
M—Middleton 16 pass from Mascarenas (Eason kick)
M—Lafitte 5 run (Eason kick)
M—Skinner 24 run (Eason kick)
F—Butts 4 pass from Bristow (kick failed)
M—Skinner 34 pass from Mascarenas (Eason kick)
M—Lafitte 1 run (Eason kick)
M—Skinner 32 pass from Mascarenas (Eason kick)
M—Eason 52 FG
F—Bristow 3 run (pass failed)
F—Pierce 33 pass from Bristow (Trotter run)
Rushing — McPherson, Lafitte 12-85, Thibodeaux 8-31, Skinner 2-25, German 5-14, Snodgrass 1-5, Ozbun 1-(-3), Mascarenas 1-(-15).; Friends, Goerzen 4-13, Trotter 7-11, Bristow 19-6, Bolander 3-5, Washington 1-2.
Passing — McPherson, Mascarenas 14-20-326-1, Snodgrass 2-2-15-0, Ozbun 1-1-22-0; Friends, Bristow 21-43-204-3.
Receiving — McPherson, Skinner 8-268, Middleton 3-42, Lafitte 2-14, Robinson 1-22, Rotering 1-12, Muor 1-3, White 1-2; Friends, Pierce 8-143, M. Hyde 3-28, Butts 3-19, Dandridge 3-11, Bolander 2-0, Trotter 1-3, Goerzen 1-0.