By Hayden Kulick
Defense could end the Tigers playoff run.
In their first round matchup against Ventura College, the only time they could consistently get stops was when the backup quarterback was on the field.
The one time they got a stop in the first quarter, they gave the ball right back on a fumble. That turnover led to seven points.
As bad as the defense was, the offense was much better and kept them in the game.
RCC put up nearly half its points in the first quarter, but also couldn’t seem to get a stop.
“We were inconsistent,” head coach Tom Craft said. “But they were pretty inconsistent too.”
Steady play wasn’t the Tigers only issue.
The defense couldn’t get stops. But, Ventura quarterback Samuel Marquez, went down with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. At that point it was assumed that the game was over, but the defense was bad. Even when the backup came in, they gave up a 40 yard bomb on his first pass.
Offensively, it felt like the Tigers couldn’t be stopped. Them scoring on their first three drives was a sign of what was to come later in the game. Even when the Pirates thought they had stopped them, they were mistaken.
Late in the third quarter, quarterback Jake Retzlaff was looking to his wide receiver brother Reggie Retzlaff in the red zone. Ventura thought they had the play figured out. The safety was yelling “watch the corner, watch the corner,” while pointing at Reggie. Jake took that as an opportunity to show why he has multiple division one offers and audibled to call him on a slant that resulted in a touchdown.
The offense hasn’t been an issue at all this season as the team was second in southern California in total rushing yards.
This game was no different. The Tigers got their early lead by passing the ball, and in textbook fashion, ran the ball to put the game on ice.
If coach Craft chose to keep calling passing plays, the outcome would have been the same. Jake Retzlaff passed the ball with ease today having six touchdowns through the air without throwing a single interception.
“Offensively we knew I had to step up,” Retzlaff said. “I don’t do it without those guys up front. I don’t do it without my receivers.”
That’s true, he doesn’t do that without any of his guys out on the field. Today he showcased his ability to progress through his reads completing passes to eleven different receivers. In a normal regular season game, he would stare down his brother and throw it up for a touchdown, but against these better teams he knows he needs to change his strategy.
It wasn’t just brotherly love.
Wide receiver Roshawn Lacy was an additional target in the redzone for Retzlaff. Lacy finished the game accounting for three of Riverside’s touchdowns.
Lacy was an unexpected star. Lacy stepped up in Juwan Tuckers absence. Tucker has not appeared in the last three games.
Unexpectedly so, Mt. San Antonio College lost to Fullerton, meaning that RCC will Face Fullerton in the Southern California Finals. Mt. SAC had been one of the best teams all year, making the loss even more surprising.
“It’s a great team that they have over there,” is what Jake Retzlaff said about Mt. SAC team after the game. Little did they know that they would be facing a different opponent in the next round.
Fullerton is a team who only had one loss on the season. That one loss was to Cerritos College, a team that RCC beat by only one score in the regular season.
The Tigers need to stay awake going into next week. If fullerton beat Mt. SAC, they can give Riverside a run for their money.
Tigers running back Bryce Strong is looking to take home some jewelry.
“I see this team winning a ring,” Strong said after Riverside City College’s final regular season game against Chaffey College.