No. 3 Riverside Flexes Stout Defense, Balanced Offense in Conference Opener

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

The No. 3 Riverside City College football team hit its home turf for the third time this season as they played host to the Grossmont College Griffins in the Southern California Football Association (SFCA) National Southern League conference opener. Despite Grossmont striking first in the contest, the Tigers responded early and more often leading to an early advantage and never let go of a first-quarter benefit leading to a commanding 37-10 victory.

Riverside more than doubled Grossmont's offensive output as seen in 496 total yards. They averaged over six yards-per-play on 80 total plays. Furthermore, the Tiger defense halted the Griffin to a mere 81 yards rushing and just 10 points. It is the third time this season the Tigers have halted their opponent to under 10 points. The blanked Long Beach in late September and held El Camino to just seven points in the season opener.

The Tigers displayed a complete offensive package in the first quarter en route to snagging their first lead of the contest. Sophomore quarterback Stone Smartt connected with sophomore wide receiver Tyrone Marshall on an eight-yard touchdown pass to toss up the team's first six points. Sophomore running back Malik Walker followed suit on the next Riverside possession with an eight-yard touchdown carry. Sophomore kicker John Garibay booted home both extra points to hand the Tigers a 14-7 advantage.

Riverside leaned heavily on the kicking game in the following two quarters. It was the Garibay kicking clinic as he put his skills on display by booting home three field goals over 20 yards each. His longest conversion was in the early stages of the second quarter going for 27 yards. He followed a 26 yarder and capped his performance off with a 21-yard chip shot.

In the fourth quarter, the Tigers continued to pound the ball on the ground with force. Walker added another rushing touchdown going for nine yards, backed by the final score for Riverside compliments of freshman running back Eric Buchannon. He toted the ball 18 yards to the house en route to a 37-10 victory.

The defense halted the Grossmont to a measly field goal in the third quarter following the first quarter to prove their utter dominance. Sophomore linebacker Vic Viramontes paced the team with eight tackles with one and a half of them going for a loss. Christian Swint, Kue Olotoa, Jalen Bowens, Dayshawn Neal, and Nickolas Figueroa each recorded six tackles.

Grossmont's quarterback was under constant pressure all night. Figeroa recorded two sacks for a loss of 11 yards, while Olotoa recorded an interception and Swint forced a fumble.

Offensively, the ground duties were shared amongst five premier weapons. Walker found himself in the end zone twice on the night after 11 carries leading to 64 yards. Sophomore Quincy Wimbish racked up the most yardage with 69, while freshman running back Dunmar Fisher totaled 66 yard on the ground off eight carries.

Marshall paced the receiving core with five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown, while freshman duo Tyler Kennedy and Jammal Houston each reeled in three catches.

Smartt had an efficient game under center by going 19-for-19 with 204 yards and a touchdown. He rushed 10 times for 35 yards as well.

Garibay had his best game of the season by going 3-for-3 in the kicking game. Additionally, he was 4-for-4 in extra points and totaled 507 kickoff yards.

Riverside (5-1, 1-0 NSL) will hit the road and face the No. 22 Golden West College Rustlers in conference action at 1 p.m.