Growing pains for RCC football

By Matt Dziak / Staff Writer

By Matt Dziak / Staff Writer

Quarterback Tyler Shreve saw himself heading to the bench in the second quarter while the rest of the Tigers’ offense anxiously waited for a signal caller to lead the huddle.

Trailing the No. 25 Ventura Pirates 21-7, Shreve was ejected in the second quarter because of his involvement in a scuffle after a play and his second personal foul penalty of the first half. According to the Southern California Football Association rules, after a player receives two personal foul penalties, they are ejected and will also be suspended the following game. 

Although the ejection was surprising, the greatest shock was the final score.

With four minutes remaining, the Pirates quarterback Ebahn Feathers methodically progressed down the field using short and intermediate passing routes and found Dylan McDaniel on a slant route in the end zone to cap off the 91-yard game winning drive that gave the Pirates a 28-27 lead with just 39 seconds remaining. 

The 28-27 defeat was a shocking upset to most, as it snapped the No. 4 ranked RCC football team’s 19-game win streak dating back to the 2010 season.

“Ventura is a good football team,” said Tom Craft, coach of RCC. “We have to look at the tape and grow from this.”

The inexperience of the young Riverside team was on display early, starting the game with several blunders including a fumbled punt return by Devonn Brown that was recovered by the Pirates’ coverage team at the Tigers own 10-yard line leading to a Pirates touchdown. 

“We have a young team, 11 new starters on offense, eight new starters on defense,” Craft said. “We have to get better.”

The momentum swung back Riverside’s way after sophomore quarterback Zac Adkins completed a remarkable 12 of 13 passes in the first half, and also utilized the option run attack relying heavily on the legs of running back E.J. Schexnayder, who led all rushers with 74 rushing yards.

Adkins guided the Tigers offense to two touchdown drives tying the game 21-21 at halftime.

Although Riverside outgained Ventura by 168 total yards on offense, the Tigers lost three fumbles and dug themselves too big of a whole to climb out of with an astounding 18 penalties resulting in a loss of 197 yards.

“We could not overcome all the turnovers and penalties; it was a sloppy game on both sides,” Craft said.

Tight end Gus Penning found himself a frequent target for both Tiger quarterbacks. Penning, an intimidating 6’6″ sophomore, outreached the shorter Pirate defenders and amassed 150 yards receiving on nine receptions.

Adkins who led all players with 244 yards passing on 19 of 24 completions, had a wobbly pass intercepted by safety Matt Arve on the final drive, sealing the victory for the Pirates, handing Riverside their first defeat since 2010 against Mt. San Antonio College. 

“Zac played admirable,” said Craft. “It’s a game of inches and we did not get them tonight.”

The Tigers will have to work on correcting their mistakes and bounce back with their new starting quarterback for the home opener against Palomar College on Sept. 8 at Wheelock Stadium.