By Nick Woodard
Record Staff Writer
STOCKTON — There was good news to come out of Saturday afternoon's proceedings at De Ricco Field. The Delta College football team put up a season-high in points, and in fact scored more than the Mustangs' first three games combined.
That, however, is where the silver linings end.
Delta committed six turnovers and gave up a season-high in points as visiting Feather River pounded the Mustangs to the tune of a 63-27 beatdown that dropped Delta's record to 0-4 on the season.
Five of the Mustangs' turnovers came in the first half. Coupled with an inept offensive attack early, it put Delta in a huge hole to start the game. Feather River led 28-0 after a quarter of play, with quarterback Jalen Dummett accounting for three of the four scores.
"Unforced turnovers, not taking care of the ball — those are things that you cannot do at the level we play," said Delta head coach Gary Barlow. "You can't do it and expect to have success."
Angel Sena, a freshman running back from East Union High, put the Mustangs on the board with a goalline score in the second quarter.
To make matters worse, the Mustangs still hadn't found an answer Dummett and the rest of Feather River's offense. They went to the locker room at the half staring down a 42-12 deficit, a score reflective of mistakes on both sides of the ball.
"You can't play like that," Barlow said. "You have to play clean football. We didn't play good football."
Delta did play better — comparatively but objectively — on both sides of the ball in the second half. Tre Wortham, a Bear Creek product, made a nice play to jump a throw for an interception that halted a Feather River drive. A few drives later, Lathrop graduate Tremayne Willis found pay dirt from a yard out.
The Mustangs forced a safety in the fourth, and Nordhal connected with Edison product De'von King for a 47-yard TD pass late in the fourth.
Delta is capable of making plays, Barlow said, when each unit plays cohesively. The issue is consistency, a factor that's a bit harder to come by with a young roster.
"So many of our guys are freshman, and are learning how to play college football on the fly," Barlow said. "We have to understand that you can't let up. One guy out of 11 lets up, and you have a lost play."
Ultimately, Barlow said he believes Delta's dismal turnover deficit (six to Feather River's two) is the reason the game got out of hand. The Golden Eagles (3-1) came to town with a winning record and may have been seen as the favorites, but the margin could have been much smaller had ball security not been an issue.
The Mustangs will play at Diablo Valley at 5 p.m. Sept. 29, taking on a 1-3 Vikings team that lost 42-17 to Sierra on Saturday.
In the week between a brutal loss and and their next opportunity to find the win column, Barlow said the focus for coaches and athletes alike will center around minimizing the mistakes that prove so costly when searching for victories.
"Take care of the football, add a little offensive execution," Barlow said, "and who knows?"