By Cameron Winston
There is nothing like college football on a Saturday night, especially when that night pertains to a rematch between two conference foes in the playoffs.
The No. 2 seed Riverside City College defeated the No.3 seed Ventura College in the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) Southern California Regional playoffs. In what ended up turning into a shootout between both teams with a final score of 49-33.
“We had to be balanced, and we had to try to contain their passing game and not let their run game get too extended, and we were able to do that,” coach Tom Craft said. “Our defense really responded, and they were very resilient towards the end of the game.”
On Ventura’s first drive of the game, they came out marching down the field into the Tigers territory in what looked to be a scoring opportunity for Ventura, but ended up being a three-and-out drive by the Tigers to force a field goal. Riverside’s defense then had two more critical stops like that, after turning the ball over to give Ventura great field position but limiting them to just scoring on field goal attempts to keep the game close.
Freshman linebacker and running back, Jash Allen, led the way for the Tigers defense with 12 tackles, 2 sacks, and 4.5 tackles for loss, by getting into the backfield and disrupting the quarterback in what would be long night for Ventura’s quarterback Ricky Town. Riverside finished the game with a total of five sacks on the night, and a big-play interception in the fourth quarter that led to an RCC touchdown.
On the offensive side, Riverside was led by star quarterback Vic Viramontes’ seven touchdown performance that earned him the Most Valuable Player award for the game. He struggled early in the first quarter throwing two interceptions that gave Ventura favorable field position, but fazed that out of his mind right away.
“As a quarterback, you have to have short term memory,” Viramontes said. “If you throw a bad ball, you just gotta come back to the sideline, know what you did wrong, and tell your wide receivers, ‘That’s on me. I’m gonna get you the ball’.”
Viramontes made sure of that, as two of his seven touchdowns came through the air, and threw for a season high, 332 yards. One of his touchdowns came to Player of the Game, freshman Tyrone Marshall, who had one of the best highlight plays of the season after catching a pass on a short dig route and proceeded to hurdle over a Ventura defender, and take it to the end zone for a 53-yard touchdown.
Fellow receiver, Tanarious Achan, led the team in receptions with five and in yards with 113 while catching a 61-yard deep pass from Viramontes.
“It feels great. I couldn’t have done it without my line, my wide receivers, and the defense came in and made a couple of stops. I think this is the whole team that put their effort into this,” Viramontes said.
Riverside advanced to the SCFA Southern California Championship Game that will see them face No.1 seed undefeated Fullerton College on Nov. 25 at Whittier College. This contest will end up being a rematch of last year’s championship game that has Riverside looking for vengeance.
“We got the best team in Southern California ahead of us right now. We’ve clawed our way to the Southern California championship game, and we’re in the final four in the state. This is the fourth year in the last five years we’ve done it, so I think we’ve accomplished a lot,” coach Craft said.