Written by: Dylan King
Riverside City College Tigers’ sophomore running back Chris Anderson displayed his abilities in a tough win against Grossmont College, 31-29, Saturday in front of a packed house at Wheelock Stadium.
Fighting their way through adversity and turnovers in the first half, the Tigers’ offense propelled them to turn a 14-point deficit in the first quarter into a 24-14 lead at halftime, with Anderson providing support.
He juked, twisted and turned his way rushing for a season high 119 yards on 22 carries in a game that became tightly contested down to the final minute, and he believes this is only the beginning.
“A guy once told me, ‘Adrian Peterson doesn’t look at the ball when he gets the handoff,’” Anderson said. “He told me I needed to start reading the defense before I got the ball. And then once I got the ball, all I remember is one play that changed my career.”
The one play that made people pay attention was an 80-yard touchdown run in a youth football game that blew everyone in attendance away. As a senior, he was a star running back at West Valley High School in Hemet, running for 902 yards and 12 touchdowns on 75 carries, according to Maxpreps, before tearing his ACL after eight games in 2013.
“I felt like that was going to be my 2,000 yard season,” Anderson recalls. “I just felt like God had better plans for me. At the time, I started to get cocky and arrogant. You couldn’t tell me anything anymore.”
The time away from football helped him reflect on the changes he needed to make. He took time to rehab his knee, which also helped him to rehab his commitment to the game.
“I used all the pain I went through in my past. I got angry. When I’m on the field, I get angry because this is all I have,” he said. “When I tore my ACL, I thought about killing myself. I felt like I was done, like I had nothing left to live for.”
However Anderson didn’t let his injury define him, instead it helped fuel his motivation to continue his athletic career.
“I thought about going to the Navy. I couldn’t get physical therapy, couldn’t get a knee brace,” He explained. “But I told God that if I’m able to come back strong, the first time I touch the ball I’m gonna score!”
Anderson used his determination to earn a spot on the Tigers’ roster, after he enrolled in April 2015, as he revealed to coaches during practice with his speed, toughness and his ability to break tackles. The coaching staff recognized Anderson’s athletic abilities, giving him a chance to show what he could bring to the starting line up.
With a 3-0 record, success on the field can be used as motivation for Chris Anderson and the RCC Tigers.
Anderson sees himself as an inspiration for others in his situation.
“Look at me,” Anderson said. “I went through hell and back, and I’m still pushing for greatness.”
With the win against Grossmont behind them, their next challenge is at El Camino on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 5 p.m.