BUTTE VALLEY — Coming off a dominant win over Santa Rosa last weekend in which Butte College put up 52 points, the game script looked a little different on Saturday for the Roadrunners. They were down 24-0 by halftime and never found their rhythm, leading to a 40-12 loss to the American River Beavers.
Although Butte’s first home loss was deflating, the game had a bright spot that took place off the field. For the third straight season, the Roadrunners partnered with Enloe Medical Center to raise awareness and money for breast cancer. Proceeds from t-shirt sales will benefit the Enloe comprehensive cancer fund.
Dr. Soumya Pai, breast surgeon for Enloe Comprehensive Breast Care, was in attendance for the “I wear pink” game and tossed the coin at half field.
“It is good that we get to meet and interact with the community, not just the players but also the families of the players. It’s an awesome opportunity for both sides,” Pai said.
Breast cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers, according to Pai, and her role is screening mammograms for women. She said the money raised “not only helps with breast care awareness but it also helps provide certain things to our survivors. All these funds help us give out gas cards, prosthesis or sometimes just help patients get to the clinic — it’s very helpful.”
Between the lines, nothing for the Roadrunners was clicking from the opening kickoff. American River scored a field goal on its first possession, and the Roadrunners nearly lost a fumble on the ensuing drive in their own half. Quarterback Rieger Sayre was able to recover the ball after a botched handoff to Christian Vaughn.
Despite their slow start to the game, in which the Roadrunners faced a 10-point deficit early, punter Gabe Estabrook sparked some life into his teammates and the fans. On a fourth and long, Estabrook took off for a 23-yard run for a first down. The play wasn’t designed for Estabrook to run, but it never looked as if he was going to punt.
Yet, none of the Roadrunners’ best efforts amounted to putting points on the board until the second half. Butte’s first score came halfway through the third quarter. Offensive coordinator Jon Hays was blunt when asked about what went wrong for his team, saying turnovers and crucial penalties hindered chances of closing the gap the Beavers created early on.
“Four turnovers, it’s hard to beat a good team like that. We got to execute the game plan better,” Hays said.
Sayre’s 16-yard throw to Da’Ron Finkley momentarily had the crowd on its feet. But the decision to go for two resulted in an interception at the 2 yard line, and Josh Tremain’s 98-yard return put American River up 33-6. To open up the fourth quarter, Sayre rushed for a 9-yard touchdown to bring the Roadrunners within 21, yet they came up short once more on a two-point conversion attempt.
The Roadrunners’ three game win streak ended, but they still have a 5-2 record — and after Saturday’s game, they will have to be even hungrier to bounce back and make a playoff push. In the staff hallways in front of the stadium, one coach made it clear to a few disappointed players walking out of the room what they need to do: Win out.
A short-term memory will be needed by all the players and coaches to achieve that. They can’t dwell on the taste of defeat, and Hays doesn’t expect this group to hang their heads coming into training.
“We get back to the process,” Hays said. “It doesn’t change, win or lose. We’ll meet tomorrow as a staff and then meet with the guys on Monday and get back to work.”
The Roadrunners will look to get back in the win column Saturday, Oct. 28, when they’ll take on Sierra College at 1 p.m. in Rocklin.