By Matthew Dziak / Asst. Sports Editor
By Matthew Dziak / Asst. Sports Editor
The No. 2 -ranked Riverside City College football team survived a 14 point comeback on the road from the Citrus College Fighting Owls, winning 38-24.
After leading 35-10 at the end of the third quarter, the Tigers offense was held to a field goal, and the Fighting Owls outscored RCC 14-3 in the fourth quarter.
The surprise play of wide receiver Joshua Waller, who scored on each of his three receptions, also gained 96 yards receiving and propelled the Tigers undefeated season to 5-0 with five games left to play before state finals.
Team captain and quarterback Dalton Livingston, had another efficient day passing the ball, completing 14 of 22 for 226 yards. Livingston was keen on taking advantage of mismatches and one on one coverage that were the result of playmaker Sadale Foster being double covered by the secondary.
The defense, led by Markus Smith who had seven tackles, a forced fumble and an interception, as well as Eddie Lackey, who led the team with ten tackles and also an interception, shut down the Fighting Owls offense.
The Tigers maintained a 25 point lead heading into halftime by holding the Fighting Owls to just three points in the first half.
Waller scored in the third quarter with a 48 yard play action pass from Livingston, confusing the defense and causing the deep safety to bite on the run, allowing Waller to beat his man coverage.
Foster was the focal point of the Owls defense, drawing double teams the entire game and leaving opportunities for his teammates to capitalize on.
“Sadale was double covered for most of the game, and the coaches had faith in me in one-on-one situations,” Waller said. “When my number was called I was ready to take advantage of the opportunity and be that guy to step up.”
Waller referred to his captian Livingston, and the presence he has in the huddle to keep his teammates determined during trying times in the game.
“Dalton believes we are going to win, and believes we are going to make plays, he has been our starter for two years now,” Waller said. “He keeps his composure the entire game and inspires us to rally around him.”
The running back tandem of E.J. Schexnayder and Andre Hunt was too much for the Fighting Owls defense, gaining 156-yards on the ground compared to 17 from the opposition.
Furthering the superb quarterback play, Backup quarterback Zach Adkins was used several times in goal line situations for the Tigers.
In shades of Denver Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow when playing for the Florida Gators, Adkins utilized the wildcat formation to keep the defense off-guard, scoring on touchdowns with his feet and through the air.
Adkins gave the Tigers a 21-3 lead in the second quarter scoring on a two-yard rushing touchdown and added another score before halftime, with a fake run pass to tight end Josh Long, for his second passing touchdown of the season.
The Tigers let off the gas, and seemed to just coast through the fourth quarter as they were outscored 14-3 by the Fighting Owls who stood against another RCC blowout, bringing the final score to 38-24.
The Tigers continued their dominance with another convincing road victory crushing the Orange Coast College Pirates 61-17.
The running game was the focal point as the Tigers gained 305 yards on the ground and scored four rushing touchdowns.
The Tigers offense, led by the tandem of Hunt, who had 111 yards and two touchdowns, and Schexnayder, who added another score and 109 yards, overpowered the Pirates defense.
Wide receiver Foster returned to form scoring on a 79 yard punt return in the first quarter and again on a 20 yard reception from quarterback Livingston.
Livingston completed 16 of his 29 passing attempts for 171 yards and three touchdowns connecting with an astounding ten different Tigers receivers.
The gritty Tigers defense was led by linebacker Will Smith racking up 11 tackles and safety Chris Gonzalez who returned an interception 31 yards.
With just four conference games left the 6-0 Tigers will return home and host Golden West College Oct. 22 at 6 p.m.
The Tigers remain at the top of the ranks in the Southern California ranking poll at No. 2.