After earning a 2019 National and State Championship, the Riverside City College football team was forced to patiently wait to defend their title for nearly two years.
After earning a forfeit victory against Mt. San Jacinto in week one, the Tigers buckled their chinstraps and squared off against the Long Beach City College Vikings on the road Saturday night under the lights. It was a slow start, but a hefty serving of defense and a consistent offensive attack lead Riverside to a commanding 24-6 victory.
The Tigers held the Vikings to a mere six points behind a stout defense that did not allow a single touchdown. They held Long Beach to 94 yards passing and a just over 100 yards on the ground. Additionally, they cause havoc on third down by holding the Vikings to a 36% efficiency rating.
The tides fully shifted late in the third quarter when sophomore Chris Ballard recovered a fumble forced by a pile of Riverside bodies.
Offensively, the Tigers earned 306 yards with 185 coming on the ground and 121 through the air.
It was quarterback by committee as freshman tandem James Odom and Budd Bernie shared duties under center. Each gunslinger dropped back for 14 passing attempts with Odom completing nine and Bernie completing seven.
Bernie threw the lone touchdown pass connecting with sophomore Marquise Ashley late in the second quarter for a five-yard touchdown. Ashley was the leading receiver with four grabs for 30 yards and a touchdown, while freshman Walter Brooks hauled in three snags for 26 yards.
Bernie was the team's leading rusher as he scurried for 56 yards on 16 carries. Sophomore Thomas Kinslow and freshman Dean Connors each ran for 51 yards. Connors was one of two backs to cross the goal line as seen in a six yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Freshman Tye Moore was responsible for the other rushing score as he pounded his way in for a 10 yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Riverside (2-0) will continue action on Saturday, September 18 at home against the Saddleback College Gauchos at 6 p.m.