By Jair Ramirez
A red zone interception late in the fourth quarter ended Riverside City College’s bid for a back-to-back state championship title.
Down 22-19, RCC quarterback Jordan Barton threw the interception on City College of San Francisco’s 2-yard line to defensive back D’Andre Greeley in the deciding play of the game.
“At the end of the day we did what we could and we got to hold our heads up high,” Thomas Kinslow, RCC running back, said.
It was a slow tempo first half as penalties plagued both teams when close to scoring opportunities.
Both teams’ defenses held strong, stopping almost all scoring attempts.
The game went into halftime with RCC leading 10-7 after kicker Ricardo Chavez hit a career long 59-yard field goal as the half expired.
“I just let my leg swing and do what it does,” Chavez said.
Star linebacker Noa Purcell suffered a leg injury early in the third quarter, slowing the defensive pressure for RCC.
Purcell did return but was not his usual self.
Momentum seemed to be going the Rams’ way after scoring a touchdown and stopping RCC on the following drive.
However, the Tigers’ luck began to change when RCC’s Kenui Huey forced and recovered a fumble on a punt return inside the Rams’ 5-yard line.
Running back Kinslow ran it in from two yards out a couple of plays later but the Tigers failed to convert a costly two-point conversion.
The Tigers finished the season 10-3 as Southern California Regional champions.
The City College of San Francisco Rams are the 2021 California Community College Athletic Association state champions.
“I’m proud of this team, of what we overcame, what we did and what we were able to accomplish,” Kinslow said.