By Jair Ramirez
The Tigers won at Mt. San Antonio College for the first time under Tom Craft as the Riverside City College coach.
Craft has been the RCC football coach for 11 years.
“It’s tough to win here, they got a good program, they’re well-coached, they got a great facility,” Craft said. “This is definitely a good win for us.”
RCC defeated its strongest conference rival 28-25 to improve its record to 6-2.
RCC dominated the first half behind freshman quarterback Jordan Barton’s passing and running attack.
Barton was 17 for 20 for 197 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 51 yards in the first half.
“The first half we came out really really strong, we came out fast,” Barton said.
Barton has started the last two games after being the third-string quarterback.
“It was definitely hard in the beginning,” Barton said. “I’ve just been listening to Craft and everything he’s been saying.
He gave me my opportunity. I’m just trying to run with it and win the state championship again.”
Barton completed six passes to sophomore wide receiver Jammal Houston for 70 yards and a touchdown.
RCC’s defense also contributed to the strong opening half only allowing 112 yards of total offense.
The Tigers took a 28-7 lead into halftime and looked like they were on their way to an easy victory.
Mt. SAC came out halftime a different team scoring a touchdown on its opening drive.
The Mounties’ defense came out just as rejuvenated and picked off Barton the very next series, leading to a field goal and momentum swing.
“We came out slow, we didn’t match their energy,” sophomore linebacker Noa Purcell said about RCC’s second half. “But then we started to pick it up, getting stops.”
It was 28-17 heading into the fourth quarter as the RCC offense couldn’t get anything going.
RCC did allow a touchdown in the final seconds but was able to recover the Mounties’ onsides kick and win the game 28-25.
“Our defense did a good job of hanging on here at the end,” Craft said.
“That’s the mark of a good team, we did what we had to do to win.”
The Tigers’ next games will be away at El Camino College on Oct. 30 and then at home against Cerritos College on Nov. 6.