RCC overcomes challenging start to win at home

By Mia Magana
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Angel Peña | Viewpoints

The Riverside City College Tigers continue their winning ways after a well-earned victory over the Southwestern College Jaguars on Oct. 27 that improved their winning streak to six, and their record to 7-1.

Quarterback Stone Smartt and wide receiver Jamaal Houston were key components to the Tigers success. The game began with an impressive defensive display from Southwestern College, who succeeded in keeping RCC from scoring in the first quarter, making them the first team to do so this season.

“At the first quarter, we were getting beat at the punch on the offensive line,” head coach Tom Craft said. “Stone was getting a lot of pressure we were trying to throw the ball and they are a very good defensive team, but particularly their front did a really nice job and so we made some adjustments and our second quarter was good.”

Despite the initial struggle in the first quarter, RCC would turn it on from second quarter moving forward en route to a dominating victory against the Jaguars, finishing with a 36-6 win.

Although the Tigers were denied any offensive points in the opening quarter, the defense still rallied to garner two points off a safety after team kicker John Garibay pinned Southwestern at their own three yard line. The Tigers would succeed in shutting out the Jaguars in this quarter, leaving the score 2-0 before the second frame of the game.

“The toughest quarter is always the first quarter because we are getting out there and we are trying to get the feel of what the other team is like,” sophomore defensive lineman Nick Figueroa said. “At practice we try to emulate what the other team is doing but it’s not quite always going to be the same until we get the matchup. Getting in that first quarter, getting the tone set and putting zero points on the board that is good for us.”

Minutes into the second quarter, the Tigers offense would come alive as starting quarterback Stone Smartt would complete a 56 yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Jamal Houston at 12:20 of the second quarter.  A successful point after kick would boost the Tigers to a 9-0 score.

RCC would capitalize on the momentum with a second straight touchdown pass throw from Stone Smartt to Houston for a 33-yard touchdown improving the lead to 16-0.

For the rest of the quarter, RCC would score twice more, this time with Smartt and linebacker Vic Viramontes both rushing into the end zone with separate touchdowns, improving the score to 30-0 at the half.

“I would say my (offensive) line and defense, everyone as a whole, as we click that’s when we make our most greatest strides,” Smartt said. “If one side is not clicking then the other side has to pick it up, it goes hand in hand.”

Leading into the second half, with the game already well in hand, RCC would take their feet of the gas. The Tigers would allow for one touchdown score from Southwestern while piling on two more of their own before the game would close.

Smartt would finish with 269 yards and two touchdowns along with 15 yards rushing and one touchdown. Houston had a stellar performance, garnering 162 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

“Our work ethic, week in and week out we come to play and that’s a big key with coach Craft,” Smartt said. “We can’t sleep on anyone. We have to be prepared each week and it’s our mentality, I would say, that gets us to it”

With football season coming to a close and two games remaining, RCC is closing in on a solid season’s end as they are currently ranked third in the state and will take on Orange Coast College in a divisional away game Nov. 3. The season will conclude with the Tigers taking on Saddleback College at home Nov. 10.