LYNCH: Merced College football team good, but sloppy

slynch@mercedsunstar.comSeptember 9, 2013 

The excitement of the opening of the high school and college football seasons has begun to subside with two weeks of action already under our belts.

All of our local teams have played, many of them twice, and now we can begin to assess what we've seen and what it all means.

I'll start with the game freshest in my mind, having seen Modesto Junior College rout Merced College in what has become an all-too-common occurrence.

The most significant thing that stayed with me from the 46-13 defeat was that the Blue Devils were not outclassed, either physically or athletically. That hasn't always been the case, particularly in recent memory.

It many ways it's an encouraging sign, but it also makes the lopsided score all the more disappointing.

The Blue Devils (0-1) looked good on both sides of the ball in stretches, but there was entirely too much sloppy play to overcome against a good opponent.

The running game was very solid, with Corey Chapman (10 carries for 61 yards), Robert Pew (7-40 and 2 touchdowns) and Leon Miles (3-17) all averaging almost 6 yards per carry.

The defense clearly has some playmakers, forcing a pair of turnovers and getting three sacks.

Now they just have to clean up things. A repeat performance against the state's No. 8 team, Fresno City College (1-0), on Saturday could produce a truly ugly score.

Perfect start

Five of the area's high school teams are 2-0 with a couple more just missing out.

Le Grand, Merced, Hilmar and Los Banos have all had enough consistent success in recent memory that their great starts are expected. Delhi, on the other hand, is a pleasant surprise.

The Hawks have shown signs of a turnaround the last couple years behind a steady ground game, averaging 263 yards per game through the first two weeks. They'll look for their first 3-0 start in over a decade when they travel to Riverbank on Friday.

Doing it with 'D'

Here's an impressive stat to open the season: The Le Grand Bulldogs surrendered a first-quarter touchdown to Orestimba in Week Zero and have proceeded to outscore opponents 85-0 in the seven quarters since. With the missed extra point and Ryan Martinez's interception return for a score, the Bulldog defense has actually outscored opponents 7-6.

Down to the wire

No one was had a wilder start than Pacheco (1-1). Each of the Panthers first two games were decided in the final 90 seconds — and in the case of last Friday, the final second.

David Snapp's squad has been on both sides of the spectrum, pulling out a tough road win over Selma and then losing a heartbreaker at home to Escalon on a Hail Mary.

A trip to Dos Palos this week is a great opportunity for a team with playoff aspirations to show its fortitude.

Speaking of close, Golden Valley has already had two gut-wrenching weeks. The Cougars' two games have been decided by a total of 10 points and Dennis Stubb's 0-2 squad could just as easily be 2-0. Senior Jashaan Wright gave an impassioned speech after last week's loss, announcing there would be no more fourth-quarter letdowns. GV tries to make it happen Thursday against Granada of Livermore.

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