By Jair Ramirez
The Riverside City College football team are the Southern California Football Association Central Conference champions after an exciting back and forth game against the Cerritos College Falcons.
The Tigers defeated Cerritos 40-38 on a 36-yard field goal by freshman kicker Jacob Marroquin as time expired on Saturday night at Wheelock stadium.
Marroquin replaced star kicker Ricardo Chavez in the second half after Chavez was injured trying to make a tackle on a kickoff return.
“It was instant shock,” Marroquin said about replacing Chavez. “ Last time I kicked a field goal was in high school but you gotta do what you gotta do for your team.”
Marroquin had not seen any action this season.
RCC’s offense started fast as the team scored a touchdown in their opening possession but slowed down and seemed to lack energy for the rest of the first half.
Freshman running back Lawrence Starks closed the gap with a touchdown shortly before halftime as Cerritos took a 21-17 lead into halftime.
The Tigers came out for the third quarter a new team on both sides of the ball, shutting out the Falcons 14-0 in the third quarter before making it 31-21heading into the fourth quarter.
RCC added to its lead later on a touchdown run by freshman quarterback Jordan Barton.
Marroquin missed the extra point, making it 37-24 with 7 minutes, 33 seconds left in the game. The Falcons responded with 14 unanswered points and took a 38-37 lead with 1:33 left in the game.
RCC marched down the field and faced a 4th-and-6 situation with the game on the line.
Barton lobbed the ball in the air, where it appeared to be short, when sophomore wide receiver Jammal Houston came back to the ball and made a diving catch on the 14-yard line.
With 6 seconds left on the clock, it came down to a 36-yard field goal for Marroquin who had shanked his previous extra-point attempt earlier in the game.
Calm and collected, Marroquin hit the kick right in between the posts, clinching a playoff spot for the Tigers.
“It felt like an ordinary field goal, three steps back, two steps over,” Marroquin said about kicking the game-winning field goal.
However, what would have been an amazing night turned ugly when both teams confronted each other after the game. which sparked a few altercations along the Cerritos sideline.
Right when it seemed the coaches had everything under control, a few players from both teams took the fight to the parking lot. Coaches and administrators ran out and stopped this incident from getting bigger.