Defense Shines and So Does Chavez in Victory over Saddleback

Photo credit: Bobby R. Hester
Photo credit: Bobby R. Hester

The Riverside City College football team entered into week three action against the Saddleback College Bobcats Saturday night on the Tiger's home turf.

It was the first time since November 30, 2019 that the Tigers played in Wheelock Stadium and they were more than ready to rumble. Despite a slow start and a game that saw minimal offense, it was the Tigers who prevailed behind a stacked defensive showing leading to a 33-6 trouncing.

For the second-consecutive week, the Tiger defense did not allow a single touchdown and held their opponent two just a pair of field goals. Additionally, they held the Bobcats to 225 total yards that saw 106 come on the ground with the remainder through the air.

The Bobcats hit a brick wall on the ground as they only averaged 2.6 yards-per-carry. It wasn't any better for them through the air as the Riverside secondary locked them up for just 2.7 yards-per-reception.

The secondary was downright filthy for the Tigers as they recorded three interceptions and nine pass break ups.

Two of the Tigers three interceptions were all brought back to the house. Freshman Demarco Moorer kicked off the infectious secondary play with a 40-yard pick to close out the first half.

The other two interceptions came in the fourth quarter highlighted by freshman Carlton Johnson rising up and taking it back 48 yards to the crib. Freshman Semaj Williams reeled in the other pick and returned it for 23 yards to hammer the final nail in Saddleback's coffin.

The secondary was on point, but the defensive front was just as good. They recorded three sacks for a loss of 22 yards, five tackles for a loss of 27 yards and nine quarterback hurries.

Freshman Talib Salahuddin was a monster on the line as he recorded a team-high eight tackles which included a sack. Sophomore Noa Purcell backed him with seven stops which included five solo tackles and a sack.

Freshman Cade Miller was responsible for one sack, while sophomore Chris Ballard and freshman Christian Herbin teamed up for the other.

Offensively, it was the Ricardo Chavez show.

Chavez was lights out in clutch moments as he booted home four out of five field goals. He started his night by converting a career-long 53 yarder, but that was only the beginning.

He went on to best his career-long late in the second quarter by sending a 54-yard kick through the uprights. He continued on to knock down a 23-yard chip shot, then finished his night with a 48-yarder in the third quarter.

Riverside scored one offensive touchdown coming on the first possession in the third quarter. Sophomore Jammal Houston hauled in a 29-yard touchdown grab from freshman Budd Bernie for his first touchdown of the season.

Bernie led the efforts under center by going 6-for-18 with 159 yards and a touchdown. Freshman James Odom completed three passes for 27 yards as well.

Freshman Marquis Ashley hauled in two passes and was five yards shy of reaching 100 yards receiving. Houston led the Tigers in receptions with three grabs for 61 yards and a touchdown.

Freshman Dean Connors led the ground attack with 11 carries for 80 yards, while freshman Lawrence Starks carted the rock nine times for 46 yards.

The Tigers (3-0) will play hosted to the Golden West College Rustlers on Saturday, September 25 at 6 p.m. Live stats will be available at and the game will be streamed on Riverside Athletics YouTube Channel compliments of Riverside TV.