There are few, if any, that do it better than Head Coach Tom Craft.
The statement above is not only based on the opinions of numerous coaches around the state, former players, coaches and the entire community of Riverside. The declaration is supported by sheer facts – 10-consecutive winning seasons, winning eight conference titles, winning 10 bowl games and reaching the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) Regional Championship four the fourth-straight season.
Oh, and he just won his 100th game as the Tiger's head coach.
Craft reached the century mark in victories with a SCFA Southern Regional Semifinal victory over the fourth-seeded Mt. San Antonio College Mounties by the final score of 48-0. It is the second California Community College football program he has has won 100 plus games. He accomplished this feat during his time at Palomar College from 1983-93 & 1998-2001 where he went went 115-56-1 during his time as a Comet.
Tonight, he accomplished this feat by utilizing a stout defense and an explosive second-half offense.
Riverside got off to a slow start by only scoring one touchdown in the first quarter compliments of a four-yard run from freshman running back Tyler Kinslow. Freshman kicker Ricardo Chavez continued the momentum early in the second quarter by converting a 22-yard field goal. From then on, the Tigers smacked Mt. San Antonio in the mouth and did not look back.
The defense for the Tigers was suffocating leading to their first shutout of the season. They allowed the Mounties to gain just 240 yards of offense and a mere 3.5 yards-per-play. Furthermore, Riverside recorded a season-high five interceptions marking the 11th-consecutive game the Tigers recorded at least one turnover.
Three of the five interceptions set the Tiger's up for scores. Freshman cornerback Rey Estes rose up for the first pick on the Mounties opening possession. Sophomore linebacker Kue Olotoa followed in the second quarter with a pick, backed by another from freshman Lionel Masivi on consecutive possessions. Sophomore Shawn Dourseau continued his deadly prowl in the secondary with his team-leading sixth interception of the season, capped by an early fourth-quarter pick by freshman Nathan Perez.
Dourseau's efforts earned him RCC's SCFA Southern Regional Semifinal Player of the Game accolades.
The efense sparked the offense as they put up 48 unanswered points marking their second-largest points spread of the season. It was an evenly distributed offensive attack as the Tiger sfinsihed with 615 total yards (322 passing, 293 rushing). Four different players recorded one rushing touchdown and two players snagged a receiving touchdown.
Freshman quarterback Jacob Barlage was untouchable in his third start of the season. He went 27-for-40 with 322 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He located freshman wide receiver Isaiah Leeth for a 21-yard touchdown connection in the second quarter and freshman wide receiver Reggie Retzlaff for a 13-yard touchdown. Furthermore, he punched in a one-yard rushing score.
His performance earned him the SCFA Southern Regional Semifinal Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
Despite not finding the end zone, freshman slot receiver Dylan Laurent hauled in nine grabs for 124 yards. It is the third time he caught for over a bill. Fellow freshman wide out Giovanni Sanders hauled in six grabs for 94 yards.
Riverside (11-0) will face off against the third-seeded College of the Canyons Cougars on Saturday, November 30 for the SCFA Southern Regional Championship. The winner will advance to the state championship game on Saturday, December 14 in Bakersfield, CA.