A goal line stop sent the Riverside City College football team to their second-consecutive California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship game.
Understandably, it was not the ONLY reason why the Tigers defeated the Golden West College Rustlers, 27-23, in the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) Championship game. However, that moment can be tabbed as the most significant play of the season and the tackle heard around Southern California.
On the final play of the game, sophomore linebacker and SCFA Central Division Defensive Player of the Year Noa Purcell dropped back into coverage in the middle of the field. The Tigers brought a light rush, giving the Rustler's quarterback plenty of time to survey the field as the clocked rolled to zeros.
From the Tigers' 15-yard line, the Golden West connected on a skinny post pattern at the five-yard line. In what seemed to be a sure touchdown, in came Purcell.
Purcell was the lone barrier between the goal line and the potential game-winning touchdown. His team-leading 60th tackle was the most important of his collegiate career as it proved to be the final nail in the Rustler's coffin.
Now, enter Riverside City College into the state championship game once again.
The Tigers (10-2) will face off against the City College of San Francisco Rams (12-0) on Saturday, December 11 at 1 p.m. on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College. All tickets can be purchased online and the ticket prices are listed at the links provided. The game will be broadcasted live compliments of BAOSN TV, free of charge, and live stats will be provided.
It is officially the golden era for Riverside football as seen in a second-straight bid to the championship ballad. In his 11th season at the helm, Head Coach Tom Craft has led the Tigers to two-consecutive Southern California Championships and is looking to add another state championship trophy to his collection of accolades. In 2019, he snapped the 30-year RCC championship drought that brought home both a state and national title.
Riverside will look to hand CC San Francisco their first loss of the season they did to Ventura and Golden West in the Southern Regional playoffs. The last team to win the CCCAA State Championship while boasting an undefeated record was the Tigers in 2019. Prior to the Tigers, it was Fullerton who held the last 13-0 record, but forfeited the title after suffering CCCAA violations.
In the SoCal Championship game, it was tough sledding in the first half as Riverside only scored three points. Nevertheless, the Tigers exploded for 24 points in the second half behind strong quarterback play and timely defensive stops.
Freshman Jordan Barton leads the Tigers under center after being named the Most Valuable Player in the SCFA Championship game. He went 28-for-38 with 312 yards and two touchdowns. It was his third time this season throwing for more than 300 yards and his eighth-straight game with a touchdown pass. He has tossed four total touchdowns in playoff action and has only surrendered the ball one time.
His favorite target comes in the form of a 6-3 offensive beast by the name of Jammal Houston. Houston, who was named RCC's Player of the Game last Saturday, put together his second game with over 100 yards receiving. He hauled in five catches for 120 yards including a 74-yard touchdown reception that put the Tigers up by six.
The rushing duties are currently shared by sophomore Thomas Kinslow and freshman Dean Connors. Connors rushed the ball nine times for 60 yards and his seventh touchdown of the season, while Kinslow earned the bulk of the load as seen in 17 totes for 64 yards. On the season, the pair has combined for over 1,000 all-purpose yards.
Defensively, Riverside has turned up the heat and is looking like themselves again. The formidable unit has forced at least one turnover in the past four games. They are coming off a game that forced Golden West to fumble the ball once and punt the ball eight times.
Purcell and Summers are the one-two punch in the middle of the defense. Purcell leads with 60 tackles with an average of 5.5 tackles-per-game, while Summers has tallied 41 stops and one sack.
Players to Watch:
Jordan Barton – 155-for-229, 2,164 YDs, 19 TDs, 5 INTs, 240.4 YPG, 170.1 QB efficiency
Lawrence Starks – 95c, 537 YDs, 5 rushing TDs, 12 rec, 221 YDs, 3 receiving TDs
Jammal Houston – 41 rec, 678 YDs, 5 TDs
Juwan Tucker – 33 rec, 407 YDs, 2 TDs
Marquis Ashley – 28 rec, 464 YDs, 5 TD, 51.6 YPG
Ricardo Chavez – 19 FGs, 56 yards (long), 31-for-31 XPA, 88 TP
Noa Purcell – 60 tackles, 5.5 TPG, 2 FF, FR
Demarco Moorer – 3 INTs, 41 tackles
Carlton Johnson – 39 tackles, two INTs, 2 INT TDs
CC San Francisco
Jack Newman – 227-for-335, 3,359 YDs, 36 TDs, 5 INTs, 279.9 YPG, 184.5 QB efficiency
Jeffrey Welmer – 75 rec, 1,253 YDs, 17 TDs, 104.4 YPG
Shawn Allen – 153c, 724 YDs, 10 TDs, 60.3 YPG
Devan Walker – 100c, 454 YDs, 6 TDs
Elias Rantissi – 56 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 8.5 TL
Jahvius Leul – 54 tackles, 8 sacks, 18.5 TFL
Frederick Thompkins – 55 tackles, 6.9 TLK/G
Sam Lockett – 3 INTs, 1 BRUP
(Release by Nicho DellaValle · Photos by Bobby R Hester · Video compliments of SoCal Sports)