Running with the ball in the desert

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By Matthew Dziak / Asst. Sports Editor

By Matthew Dziak / Asst. Sports Editor

On a brisk autumn desert night under the bright stadium lights, the Riverside City College football team found itself in another battle for a second straight week.

Fortunately, the Tigers found a way to beat the College of the Desert, 44-31, Nov. 5 in the last road conference game of the season.

Improving their win streak to 17 games, the Tigers (9-0) broke a 17-17 halftime tie with the defense forcing four Roadrunner turnovers in the second half.

In the third quarter, linebacker Eddie Lackey intercepted a Charles Fortis pass in the red zone, allowing the Tigers offense to score with a Wesley Feer 22 yard field goal making the score 27-17. Feer connected on three field goal attempts and earned himself East Central Conference special team player of the week.

“The coaches told me to watch the number one receiver across the middle,” said Lackey. “I played inside of him and was in the right spot and he threw it right to me.”

Lackey had the game of his career, finishing with seven tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown. Linebacker Will Smith also had a career day with nine tackles, a fumble recovery, and returned an interception for 69 yards to set up the Tiger offense in the red zone.

The defense of both teams was focused on hard hits, as every ball carrier found them in a gauntlet of smash mouth football.

“They came out fired up, this was for the conference title, we came out flat but we came back out  in the second half and made the big plays,” Lackey said. “We had to match their intensity, stay physical, fly to the ball, and execute our game plan to pull out the victory.”

The Tigers were led by their team captain and quarterback Dalton Livingston, who earned conference player of the week, passing for 343 yards and added four touchdowns.

Wide outs Jon Greenwalt, and Josh Waller both had over 100 yards receiving and Sadale Foster added 78 yards and a touchdown.

Greenwalt scored two touchdowns, the first of which came in the second quarter for 23 yards, and again in the third quarter for 18 yards on a slant route.

The Tigers’ special teams had several blunders that kept the Roadrunners in the game. Foster fumbled a punt return that was recovered by the Roadrunners and the Tigers also allowed a blocked punt that led to a score on the following drive.

Yet the gritty defense, which the Tigers have relied on all year, stepped up, scoring a touchdown off of a turnover and stifled the Roadrunner attack for most of the second half.

Late in the fourth quarter, Lackey scooped up a fumble and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown, to give the Tigers a comfortable 44-24 lead to seal the win.

The win clinched the East Central Conference title for the Tigers.

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