By Daniel Torres / Asst. Sports Editor
By Daniel Torres / Asst. Sports Editor
The Riverside City College football team took to the field Saturday night against its Inland Empire rivals, San Bernardino Valley College.
Coming off a loss against Victor Valley in week one, the Tigers were prepared to not let the fans, but especially themselves, down again.
RCC battled hard and it showed when they leaped off the field in a 40-17 win.
The win against their long time rivals not only brought RCC its first victory of the season, but it also kept the Victory Bell here on campus for at least another year.
RCC’s fight against SBVC for the Victory Bell began in the 1940’s when it was donated by the Santa Fe railroad yards.
Since then, the winner of these two adversaries would keep the bell as a symbol of their conquest over the other.
Not only were the Tigers playing for the Victory Bell, they now had a new reason to play.
Just earlier this month, Victor Partnoff, an outside linebacker for RCC’s defense died on his way home from practice.
Not only was this a must win game, this was to be a victory for their fallen teammate.
RCC held a moment of silence prior to the game in commemoration of Partnoff. The crowd stood silent as they watched Partnoff’s mother, father and sister walk onto the field as honorary captains.
The game did not start off as well as it ended. On RCC’s first possession, quarterback Nathan Lamonica threw an interception straight into the arms of an SBVC defender.
The roaring crowd full of students and family members was instantly quieted.
But the crowd needed only two minutes to get back on its feet when defensive back Isaiah Holland recovered a fumbled ball.
RCC scored almost a minute later when running back Cedric Foster threw a pass, yes, threw a pass to wide receiver Tommy Curry.
SBVC later came back with their own drive towards the end zone, fortunately for RCC, it only ended in a field goal.
Head Coach Bill Brown knew what to expect from the fellow Inland Empire team.
“We watched their last game on film, so we knew they were going to come out and play hard,” Brown said.
Lamonica then once again led the team down the field, this time rushing the ball in himself head to head for a 3-yard touchdown against two defensive backs; a play rarely seen by professional quarterbacks today.
RCC ended the first quarter with a 14-3 lead.
SBVC came out strong in the second quarter, though, scoring on a 59-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Robert Fuller to wide receiver Marcus Williams.
The touchdowns went back and fourth with Lamonica throwing a nine yard touchdown pass to receiver Jordan Stip and SBVC striking back with a 7-yard touchdown run by receiver Kristin James.
SBVC narrowed the lead to only four points just before halftime with one last chance to score.
Their attempt came up short and RCC led 21-17 going into the half.
RCC completely shutdown SBVC in the second half scoring 19 unanswered points, but it was the defense that made itself known.
RCC safety James Calhoun started off the second half by picking off Fuller in a play that drove the crowd, as well as the RCC bench, wild.
After the play, Calhoun was seen motivating his teammates, yelling, “C’mon lets go!”
“We just had to finally start playing as a team, and that involves the defense, not just the offense,” Calhoun said.
The interception by Calhoun led to a 30 yard field goal by kicker Noah Dobson, giving RCC a seven point lead.
Defensive linemen Cody Browne also had an interception for a touchdown in the third quarter.
This was his second interception for a touchdown in just two games.
Brown credited the turn around on defense to the defensive coordinators for switching up different formations against the SBVC offense.
“We noticed how they were playing, so we had to adjust our style,” Brown said.
Then with just 20 seconds into the fourth quarter, RCC defensive back Georgio Bryant recovered a fumbled ball in the end zone for another touchdown. After the missed point after touchdown kick, RCC led 37-17.
Adding insult to injury, the Tigers decided to kick one last field goal with 26 seconds remaining in the game.
The crowd then counted down the final seconds of the game as the team ran onto the field celebrating its first win of the season 40-17.
Aside from the defense, much recognition is deserved by RCC’s run game which ran for 183 yards and came up big on third down situations.
The win was well earned by the Tigers, especially after the loss of one of their own.
They went out and fought valiantly against an old rival and showed what it takes it to come out victorious.
RCC will next host Pasadena City College on Saturday Sept. 26.