No. 4 Riverside Handles SD Mesa, 49-21

Photo by Bobby R. Hester
Photo by Bobby R. Hester

The Riverside City College football team climbed the ladder to fourth-overall in the latest JC Athletic Bureau rankings prior to last Saturday's contest against the San Diego Mesa Olympians. The Tigers lived up to the ranking, as they typically do, and breezed through SD Mesa by the final score of 49-21.

While most every aspect of the team was firing on all cylinders, Riverside's defense was an offensive running game's worst nightmare. They halted SD Mesa to just 41 yards rushing on 29 attempts. Furthermore, SD Mesa averaged mere 1.4 yards-per-carry. SD Mesa was forced to attack through the air, but they were sacked four times and threw a pair of picks. Freshman safety Christian Swint and sophomore saftey Isaia PaoPao were responsible for both interceptions, respectively.

Riverside acted as a swarm of bees throughout the entire game on defense. Freshman line backing tandem Kobey Fitzgerald and Jose Ramirez led the attack with six tackles each, while freshman linebacker Kue Olotoa followed with five stops. Ramirez recorded 2.5 sacks, while sophomores Daryl French and Nickolas Figueroa combined for the other 1.5 sacks.

The offense followed suit and never looked back. Sophomore running back Malik Walker wasted no time in the opening quarter by breaking off a 65-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game.

The Olympians struck back later in the first quarter with a touchdown pass, but sophomore kicker John Garibay handed Riverside the lead right back by knocking home a 19-yard field goal. Sophomore quarterback Stone Smartt and sophomore wide receiver Tyrone Marshall linked up to close out the first quarter with a 12-yard touchdown connection as time expired leading to a 17-7 advantage.

The Tigers dominated the second quarter with a pair of touchdown passes from Smartt. Freshman wide receiver Marquise Stovall hauled in a six-yard touchdown reception backed by a 37-yard touchdown reception from freshman wide receiver Jammal Houston. Houston's touchdown catch was the Tiger's longest touchdown reception of the game leading to a 30-14 advantage at halftime.

Despite SD Mesa closing out the first half with a touchdown, Riverside was unfazed entering into the third quarter. Sophomore running back Qunicy Wimbish continued to push the ground game in a positive direction compliments of a 43-yard touchdown scurry. Garibay followed two possessions later with his second 19-yard field goal, followed by another passing touchdown from Smartt. Freshman wide receiver DeaQuantae Showers was on the other end of the pass for his first touchdown snag of the season.

Riverside sealed the deal by recording a fourth-quarter safety that was sparked by a 64-yard kick off from Garibay. Freshman Zach Arceyut charged down the field on the kick off and tackled the ball returner in the end zone for the safety and eventually the victory.

Smartt finished with 257 total passing yards on a 13-for-22 mark leading to four touchdowns and a lone interception. He has thrown for over 200 yards in all but one game this season. He also paced the ground game by carrying the ball 11 times for 95 yards. Walker and Wimbish combined for 146 rushing yards leading to one touchdown each.  

Marshall hauled in three catches for 86 yards and a touchdown to pace the receiving core, while Stovall reeled in four catches for 68 yards and a score.

Riverside (4-1) will enters into their bye week this weekend. They will begin conference action on Saturday, October 13 at home against the Grossmont College Griffins at 6 p.m.