By Paola Palacios
The Riverside City College Tigers dominated the scoreboard 38-17 against rival Mt. San Antonio College on Nov. 12 at Wheelock Stadium.
The Tigers became Tri-Champion of the National Central Division along with Long Beach City College and Mt. SAC.
Mt. SAC had won possession of the ball but would be unable to score. RCC was also unable to score a touchdown resulting in a field goal by kicker John Hilfer at the 20-yard line. The Tigers were ahead of the Mounties 3-0 during the first quarter with 11:58 left.
The Tigers defense made some noise by making sure that the Mounties offense would not score when linebacker Nick Underwood intercepted a pass at Mt. SAC 24-yard line to score a touchdown for the Tigers.
The Mounties offense was able to break through the Tigers defense and score a 17-yard touchdown by their wide receiver Kennedy Sykes. The score was 10-7 going into the second quarter.
RCC defense made sure that Mt. SAC’s offense could not score again when defensive back Kahani Smith picked up a Mountie fumble at the 10-yard line moving the score to 17-7.
At the end of summer, head coach Tom Craft was unsure how his team would end up this season as most of his players transferred to Division I schools in the fall which left him with a brand new team.
“When we got to 8-0 I couldn’t believe it,” Craft said. “I’m trying to pinch myself because I can’t believe what we have been able to pull off here.”
The Tigers defense weren’t the only ones making noise during the game, RCC’s offense also made sure that they were being heard.
Quarterback Collyn Anderson was able to find wide receiver Darius Hunter and score a 57-yard touchdown. The Tigers were ahead 24-7 in the second quarter.
“I feel like we played great. We played for each other,” Anderson said.
The Mounties defense kept losing their cool after scoring penalty after penalty. Their offense had failed again to score a touchdown and attempted to score a field goal that was blocked by RCC’s Manulani Hudson-Rasmusen and taken to the Tigers end zone with a 77-yard run. The Tigers were leading 31-7 going into halftime.
RCC made sure that the Mounties had a hard time scoring when coming back into the second half of the game.
The Tiger defense has amazed Craft this season.
“I’m ecstatic right now,” Craft said. “I can’t believe what we have been able to pull off.”
The Tiger defense had shown their resistance against the Mounties but were unable to stop them when Mt. SAC wide receiver Elijah Trejo scored a touchdown moving the score to 38-14.
“I think we played great and took took advantage of our opportunities,” Smith said. “We focused on executing and making sure we played hard.”
With only 1:26 left in the fourth quarter, RCC linebacker Zach Kupka intercepted the Mounties ball at the 32-yard line. RCC would run out the clock to win against rival Mt. SAC 38-14.
The Tigers will continue to play in the state playoffs after they received the No. 2 seed allowing them to compete against Saddleback for the Southern California Bowl on Nov. 19 at Wheelock Stadium at 6 p.m.
The winner from this game and the National Bowl game between Ventura College and Fullerton College will compete in the Southern California Football Association Championships on Nov. 26 with time and venue TBA.