Second half meltdown leads to Feather River rout

David Delatorre jogged off of the field, shaking his head.The Merced College freshman linebacker removed his helmet, gave a quick glance to the scoreboard and turned to his teammates to ask a simple question.“How are we down 40 points to these guys?” Delatorre said.That thought probably entered the mind of every Blue Devil coach, player and supporter at Don Odishoo Field on Saturday afternoon.Any progress MC had made in its previous two games was completely erased as the Blue Devils were embarrassed in a 66-20 loss to Feather River.“I’m honestly speechless right now,” Delatorre said. “There’s no way those guys were good enough to score 66 points on us.“At halftime we were pumped up and ready to go. I don’t know what happened.“We just crumbled.”Despite an unimpressive opening half, the Blue Devils trailed just 19-6. MC even had some momentum after Feather River was turned away just before intermission while inside the MC 10-yard line.The Blue Devils’ opening possession of the second half, however, marked the beginning of the end.It was a sequence that summarized MC’s season.The Blue Devil defense forced a Feather River punt and Don Moorman signaled for a fair catch around the MC 19-yard line.The Golden Eagles (3-2) were flagged on the play and MC coach Tony Lewis — looking for better field position — happily made Feather River re-punt.The move backfired.The Blue Devils (0-5) were penalized for a hold on the return and took over at their own 7-yard line.With his back to the goal line, quarterback Ryan Williston attempted to find Marquese McIntyre with a quick out route. Feather River’s Archie Koyich jumped the play and cruised 10 yards for the easy pick six.MC never recovered.“I don’t want to take anything away from (Feather River ), but they weren’t the best team we’ve played this season,” a shell-shocked Lewis said. “It looked like we didn’t even coach these guys.“I just hope when we go back over the film, we don’t see guys lying down.”Feather River’s triple-option offense gashed the MC defense for 452 yards, 299 in the second half. The 66 points surrendered were a season high for the Blue Devils.Ironically, the Blue Devils’ 20 points were also a season high.MC’s Trevor Staats and Xavier Gladney each had fourth quarter touchdown runs and Williston hit Lihikai Domingo with a 26-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.“This one is going to be tough to bounce back from,” Delatorre said. “We’re going to use the bye to try and get healthy, and get ourselves ready to go for conference play.”— Sean Lynch