Del Campo Loses Home Opener

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG)  |  By Keith Jouganatos

Outmatched by Merced

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - A home loss at Del Campo is something Mike Dimino and his team were not used to last season, but it was something they had to get used to during Friday night’s 51-15 loss to Merced. The Cougars were undefeated at home last season, which included a 41-14 victory over Merced to start the year.

But from the opening kickoff Merced’s offense posed a problem for Del Campo’s defense as they got out to a hot start in the first quarter, scoring back to back touchdowns to jump out to an early 14-0 lead. By the second quarter Merced’s offense was in hot pursuit while Del Campo’s inability to take care of the football was on full display.

Following Dhameer Warren’s 20 yard touchdown pass to Noah Leaf to make it 31-7 Merced, Del Campo proceeded to muff the kickoff, which Merced recovered. One play later Warren struck again, connecting with Xavier Stewart from 26 yards out to make it 37-7 going into half.

The second half wasn’t much different for the Cougars.

Following the game longtime Del Campo Head Coach Mike Dimino was not amused at his team’s inability to protect the pigskin.

“They literally got two touchdowns in 23 seconds, one touchdown in five seconds,” said Dimino.

“I can honestly say that’s never happened to one of my football teams before.”

There were times when the running game for Del Campo looked solid and gave them the ability to potentially put the ball in the end zone. Yet the offense misfired numerous times in the passing game inside and around the twenty yard line, which included a handful of picks that stalled drives and gave Merced the ball back.

Postgame, Dimino, alongside numerous senior players and assistant coaches, gave heartfelt speeches to the team that preached the importance of not quitting and playing hard until the final whistle blows. Body language came into play after the 37-7 halftime deficit.

“We have to be better and will be better,” said Dimino postgame.

Del Campo looks to rebound in two weeks after a Week 2 bye when they take on McQueen High School on the road.