By Jesus Coronel
The Riverside City College defense played lights out the entire game as the team limited El Camino College to only six points and created four turnovers.
The Tigers dominated the Warriors to become 3-0 in the season with a 45-6 victory.
“The defense played really well,” Riverside coach Tom Craft said. “They got lined up quickly, they were more focused, we didn’t give up a deep pass and I am proud of them.”
After a touchdown on the first drive of the game, the Tigers defense gave the team much needed momentum as freshman cornerback Qualyn McQueen intercepted a pass from Warriors quarterback Dayton Tafoya. He credited defensive coordinator James Kuk.
“We did really well today,” McQueen said. “Kuk pushes us every day and the hard work pays off.”
The defense continued imposing its will, forcing two more fumble recoveries in the first half, limiting the Warriors to only three points.
Kuk said practice has helped with discipline and tightening up loose ends.
“The focus was on ourselves,” Kuk said.
After a special teams fumble from El Camino that was recovered by the Tigers, sophomore running back Bryce Strong scored on a two-yard touchdown run.
Strong was a key contributor to the Tigers offense as he ran for 62 yards. He would go on to score two touchdowns and catch five passes for 154 yards, including a 75-yard catch and run in the third quarter that set up a later touchdown.
“We came out and shut them out,” he said. “Our offense can be as powerful as it can be.”
The Tigers defense maintained its momentum in the second half, and after two more touchdowns were scored, they held the opposition to only a field goal in the fourth quarter en route to a second consecutive blowout win.
However, the team had eight penalties that cost it 79 yards, most of them coming from the offense.
“We gotta improve on minimizing penalties,” Strong said. “Over time, we’re gonna get better at that.”
Kuk said the team needs to be able to “establish their identity” as the season progresses so that the Tigers can be prepared for anything that comes their way.
The Tigers go on the road next week Sept. 23 to play against Palomar at Escondido High School.