Look Ahead: Riverside City College ready for Saddleback

Daniel Pena | Staff Writer

September 11, 2014

The Riverside City College Tigers football team will look to continue its three game winning streak against the Saddleback Gauchos, when the two teams meet at Saddleback on Sept. 13.

The streak began with the Tigers’ victory over the Gauchos in the 2011 Golden State Bowl, 31-14. The next time the teams met the Tigers cruised to a 51-13 win in 2012.

The Gauchos fell short in the 2013 season as the Tigers won the regular season match, 38-31.

The Tigers have outscored Saddleback 120-58 in those last three games and will look to improve on that in their 2014 meeting. RCC open the season ranked at No. 3 in the JCgridiron preseason poll and defeated No. 20 Bakersfield, 51-3 at home.

Saddleback, ranked No. 22 in the preseason, fell to the No. 11 Cerritos College Falcons, 27-24. Saddleback leads Southern California with 13 straight bowl appearances along and averaged 478 yards per game but have lost a number of key starters due to graduation or transfer.

The Tigers have won four straight bowl games and have posted a 40-5 record since head coach Tom Craft took over the football program. The Tigers also lost key starters to their offense including quarterback Skyler Howard, who was accepted a full scholarship to West Virginia.

Kelly Hilinski is the new starting quarterback after winning the position battle during the summer. This is the third straight year the Tigers have entered the season with a different quarterback. Tyler Shreve and Zach Adkins in 2012 and Howard in 2013.

While the Tigers’ overall goal is to go deep into the playoffs, Craft will take it week by week as the season progresses.

“We settle it with a week to week basis,” Craft said. “We do not look ahead, we just get a game plan together against our opponent.”