Delta football’s kicking game has been a problem

STOCKTON – The kicking game has been among the biggest liabilities for Delta’s football team this season.
Delta left at least six points and as many as 14 points on the field in a two-point loss Saturday at home to Chabot due to its poor kicking game. After missing the extra point following their first touchdown, the Mustangs went for a 2-point conversion after every touchdown and converted just one of seven attempts.
In the same game, Delta faced a fourth-and-2 from the Gladiators’ 17-yard line and went for it rather than attempt a 34-yard field goal, what should be a manageable distance at the community college level. The Mustangs were stuffed for no gain, gave the ball back to Chabot on downs, and the Gladiators marched 83 yards for a touchdown.
In the season opener against Sacramento City, Delta was 1 for4 on extra points in a 3-point loss.
On numerous occasions, short kickoffs have given the opposition excellent starting field position.
There appears to be no quick fix , as the Mustangs (1-6, 0-2 Valley Conference ) prepare to host College of the Sequoias (3-4, 0-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday at DeRicco Field, hoping to end their five-game losing streak.
Delta coach Gary Barlow said he recruited two highly proficient and efficient kickers out of high school, but one of them is injured and the other hasn’t been effective. Another player said he kicked in high school, but he hasn’t been consistent either. Now, Barlow believes his best option in most cases is to go for two points.
“It’s frustrating that we create time in practice to kick PATs and we miss them and then we go out in the game and miss them,” Barlow said after Saturday’s loss. “It just got to the point where I felt, hey, let’s go for 2 and if we get it great and if we don’t at least it doesn’t feel so … I felt like we could click at about a 50 percent rate and maybe give ourselves a better chance.”
Delta is 10 for 20 on extra points and 7 for 18 on 2-point conversions.
The Mustangs’ defense also has struggled mightily. Delta ranks last statewide in yards allowed per game (560.9), last in passing yards allowed per game (309.4), 68th out of 69 teams in rushing yards allowed per game (25.4) and total sacks (six), and 66th in points allowed (45 per game).
Injuries have forced some players to step up perhaps before they were ready and others have had to play out of position. On Saturday, the interior of the defense was gouged repeatedly, as Chabot racked up 617 yards of total offense, including 392 net passing yards. The Mustangs outgained the Gladiators by 59 yards, but productive efforts by quarterbacks Jake Pruitt (320 yards, two touchdowns) and Joey Lopes (232, three) were wasted.
“Right now, I don’t know. We played, like, all around a good game,” sophomore cornerback Daniel Ruffin said after Saturday’s game. “Just the little things, like field goals and getting that third-and-long stop and not getting it, I think that really hurt us today.”

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