Merced College football coach Bob Casey didn't need to dig deep for his halftime speech.
In fact, Casey hardly needed to speak at all.
The Blue Devils turned in an uninspired opening half in Saturday's season finale. To add insult to injury, a late turnover while MC was trying to run out the clock gave West Hills a lead at intermission.
"Coach didn't really have to say anything," sophomore wide receiver Tyrell Vinson said. "We knew we didn't want to go out like how we played in the first half. Guys just kept saying we need to turn in 30 full minutes."
The self motivation worked.
The Blue Devils turned in their best half of the season, closing out the game with 23 unanswered points and avoiding a last-place finish in the Golden Gate Conference with a 30-14 victory at Stadium '76.
"There's no doubt that was our best half of football," Casey said. "The offensive line came out and played great. The defense shut them down.
"Cameron Boyd is a good running back and had almost nothing in the second half.
"The guys knew we'd only hurt ourselves in the first half. We missed some opportunities on this season, but we ended it on a good note."
MC wasted little time getting back in the game, scoring on the opening possession of the second half.
The Blue Devils (3-7, 1-3 GGC) marched 61 yards and Corey Chapman (34 carries for 123 yards) punched in his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run to tie the game at 14.
MC's defense put the Blue Devils right back in business when linebacker Darius Lamar popped Lovell Joy on a pass completion and the ball flew right into the hands of James Gardner, who returned it to the West Hills 8-yard line.
The Blue Devils were denied at the 1-yard line and turned the ball over on downs, but the defense picked them back up on the next play.
Romel Streit tried to run the Falcons out of trouble, but was tackled in the end zone by defensive lineman Adron Collins and Sigone Tongamoa for a safety and a 16-14 Merced College lead.
"That was a great feeling, especially right after we didn't score," Collins said. "I have to give the credit to the rest of my linemen.
"Everybody did their jobs and we showed what we could have done all season."
West Hills (2-8, 0-4 GGC) gained just 57 yards in the second half and crossed midfield only once.
MC, on the other hand, scored on three of its first five possessions of the second half.
The Blue Devils put the game away in the fourth quarter with a pair of Vinson touchdowns that came less than two minutes apart.
The wideout pounced on a DeVonte Mays fumble in the end zone to put MC up 23-14.
Collins then gave the Blue Devils another short field with a big tackle on a fake punt. Quarterback Rudy Monteon hit Vinson (5 catches, 71 yards) with a tremendous 26-yard leaping touchdown grab two plays later.
"It was an up and down season," Vinson said. "We know we probably should have done better, but at least this was a good way to finish the season."