By Hayden Kulick
A game winning interception in triple overtime kept Riverside City College’s undefeated streak alive.
In a game that had the number one and number three teams in the state facing off, RCC was able to maintain its number one ranking with its win against Mt. San Antonio College on Oct. 22.
The Tigers played well in the first quarter, ending that period up by nine. However that two score lead wouldn’t last long as two dropped balls turned into interceptions that set up Mt. SAC for two field goals.
“The two interceptions came on balls that were catchable,” head coach Tom Craft said. “Overall it’s about execution. Catching balls that are thrown to you and not getting penalties.”
After two big rushing touchdowns by RCC and a few more scores by the Mounties, the Tigers found themselves down by a field goal in the fourth quarter with three and a half minutes on the clock.
On that final drive of regulation, Quarterback Jake Retzlaff Connected with his brother, wide receiver Reggie Retzlaff, on a 29 yard catch that set up the game tying field goal.
“Every time I get press man, I know I’m going to get a look,” Reggie Retzlaff said. “All I was thinking about was ‘catch the ball’. At that point it was just me and the ball.”
After the catch, kicker Jacob Marroquin sent a 36 yard field goal through the uprights to send the Tigers to overtime.
The Junior College overtime rules were something that nobody on the Tigers roster had ever experienced before.
“We just treated it like a normal play,” Jake Retzlaff said. “We rep this kind of scenario in practice so that really helped us”
On the first play of overtime, Retzlaff handed the ball off to running back Bryce Strong who broke a few tackles on his way to the endzone. This score put RCC up by seven in overtime.
“I just want to give a big shoutout to my [offensive] line,” Strong said. “We’re just going to practice hard and we’ll get this same outcome again.”
The glory of scoring the potentially game winning touchdown wouldn’t last long for the team. On the very next play, Mt. SAC drew up a double pass trick play that resulted in a 25 yard passing touchdown that sent the game to a second overtime.
Both teams then got another shot at scoring from the 25 yard line, but neither team was able to capitalize. The kickers for both teams missed chip shot field goals to seal the win, sending the game to a third overtime.
In the third overtime, both teams were given one chance to put the ball in the endzone from the three yard line.
Strong easily waltzed his way across the goal line for the Tigers.
In what might be a preview of the southern California conference championships, linebacker Kenton Allen was subbed in for one play and made the game winning interception for RCC.
“To make the game-winning play for the number one team in the state, it’s something I can’t even fathom,” Allen said. “I sat back and waited. I knew he was going to throw it, so I just waited for it.”
Despite his play in the clutch, Allen is still focused on the games in the future.
“We got a new game next week,” Allen said. “We won, but it’s time for the next team.”
The Tigers will be looking to push their win streak to eight games as they play El Camino College at home on Oct. 29.