Heavy Dose of Ground Game Leads No. 4 Tigers past No. 12 Bakersfield

Eric Wilson sealed the deal with a fourth-quarter interception in Saturday night's victory over No. 12 Bakersfield. (photo by Bobby R. Hester)
Eric Wilson sealed the deal with a fourth-quarter interception in Saturday night's victory over No. 12 Bakersfield. (photo by Bobby R. Hester)

It was a battle of top-ranked teams Saturday night in Bakersfield, CA as the No. 4 Riverside City College football team took on the No. 12 Bakersfield College Renegades in non-conference action. In a contest that was wire-to-wire for the duration of the battle, an interception by freshman defensive back Eric Wilson (Oceanside, CA) with just seconds left in the fourth quarter sealed the deal en route to a 28-26 victory.

The interception by Wilson was the first of his Tiger's career and it could not have come at a better time. Bakersfield had come within two points of tying the contest with just under eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and looked to make one last push in the final seconds. After the Renegades converted on a fourth down, they took one last chance at the end zone with under five seconds remaining. That's when Wilson rose for the interception to hand the Tigers the win.

Riverside had a steady offense by scoring once in each quarter. Most of the grunt work came from the legs of freshman quarterback Vic Viramontes (Norco, CA). The hard-nosed quarterback put his running talents on display once again by hitting the ground for a total of 146 yards and three touchdowns. His arm was not much of a factor, but he surpassed the century mark through the air and completed 13 passes.

His first touchdown came in the first quarter on a 13-yard scurry to the house. He followed in the second quarter by pounding it in the end zone for a one-yard run, backed by a seven-yard scramble in the fourth quarter.

Viramontes was not alone in the rushing attack as freshman running back Mailk Walker (Corona, CA) lead the backfield in yards with 146 yards off 14 attempts. He pushing through the pylons in the third quarter for his first-career touchdown in what turned out to be the game-winning score. Sophomore running back Clifford Simms was one-yard shy of reaching a bill on the ground as he carried the ball 13 times for 99 yards.

While the passing game was not much of a factor, sophomore wide receiver Malik Holcomb (Chicago, IL) lead the aerial attack with eight snags for 71 yards. Freshman wide receiver Tanarious Achan (Lafayette, LA) backed him with three grabs for 27 yards.

Defensively, the Tigers were monsters in the backfield as they recorded five sacks to go along with a plethora of players recording tackles. Helming the storm was freshman linebacker Devin Charles (Fontana, CA) who made a team-high nine stops. Sophomore defensive lineman Misiona Aiolapotea-Pei (Gold Coast, Australia) followed with seven stops and recorded one and a half sacks for a loss of 10 yards. Sophomore defensive lineman Isaiah Flowers (Chino Hills, CA), freshman linebacker LaBryson Dixon (Jacksonville, FL), and freshman defensive lineman Jarell Knight (Hialeah Garden, FL) each recorded a sack as well.

Freshman kicker John Garibay (Rubidoux, CA) was a perfect 4-for-4 in extra point attempts. Additionally, her booted five kickoffs for a total of 311 yards.

The Tigers (3-0) will return home this Saturday, September 23rd for a 6 p.m. game against No. 5 Ventura College.