Riverside (7-1, 4-0) was extremely lucky to get the win over the Owls. After falling behind, 12-0, in The Opening quarter, the Tigers rallied to take an 18-12 lead on an amazing 68-yard punt return by Garrtte Biggers for a touchdown with 1:53 left. But that was just the beginning of what became an amazing finish.
Citrus (5-2, 1-2) drove into scoring position on the strength of a 34-yard pass from Bernard Porter to Isaiah Kepley that got the ball to the Riverside 35. Then a personal foul penalty on Riverside moved the ball to the 20. Porter scrambled for 2 yards, but that also cost the team valuable time as the clock continued to run. He spiked the ball with one second remaining.
On that final, desperate play, Porter lofted the ball into the end zone, where multiple players and hands went after it. The ball was tipped, and when it came down it was Citrus' Josh Jones who had control for the game-tying touchdown with all zeroes on the clock. Much of the Owl bench emptied into the end zone in celebration. However, that resulted in a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration, making the extra point try a 35-yard kick. Kepley, who doubles as the team's kicker, pushed the kick wide left, keeping the score tied and sending the game to overtime.
In extra time, Citrus went first and, after a sack by Riverside's Charles Tuaau, ended up settling for a 46-yard field goal attempt. Kepley's kick was tipped by Riverside's, Jameel Erving, keeping the score 18-18. Riverside gained seven yards on two plays, but after a 5-yard penalty pushed the ball back to the 23 Tiger head coach Tom Craft decided not to tempt fate any further and sent Rausa out on third down for the game-winning field goal.
All of that capped an afternoon of extremely entertaining football that was a struggle most of the way for both teams. There were 9 turnovers, 24 penalties and numerous missed opportunities on both sides. And Riverside, despite averaging well over 50 points per game during the first 6 games of the winning streak, failed to score a single touchdown on offense all afternoon.
Citrus got a huge start when lineman Brock Newton deflected RCC quarterback Zach Adkins' first pass of the day and Kody Duffy-Huerta intercepted the pass at the Tiger 40. Three plays later, Porter threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jo Jo Curiel to give the Owls a 6-0 lead less than a minute into the game. Kepley's extra point try was wide left, which seemed a relatively insignificant detail at the time, keeping the score 6-0.
Riverside drove to the Citrus 22 on its next drive, but that effort ended when Rausa missed a 39-yard field goal wide right. Citrus drove into Riverside territory on its next drive, but on a 4th down pass Porter was intercepted by Tray Hall at the Owl 5. Two plays later, however, Simon Pruitt intercepted an Adkins pass at the Riverside 15. On the next play, Porter threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Holmes to make it 12-0. The Owls went for the two-point conversion and Porter got the ball to Curiel, but he was tackled just short of the end zone.
Neither team scored in the second quarter. Riverside reached the Citrus 37, but turned the ball over on downs after Rodney Mathews knocked down an Adkins pass on 4th down. Riverside also got interceptions from Naim Colbert and Chris Gonzalez. Citrus' Duffy-Huerta recovered a fumble by RCC backup quarterback Tyler Shreve, but that led only to a missed field goal by Kepley with 1:34 left in the half. So at the break it was still 12-0 in favor of Citrus.
Then Riverside capitalized on a Citrus mistake to get on the board when safety Ryan Coleman intercepted a short pass by Porter and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown just 3:26 into the second half. Rausa's extra point made it 12-7. But neither team scored again until Rausa hit a 22-yard field goal with 9:16 left in the final period. And even that felt like a missed opportunity for Riverside, which had driven to the Owl 1 on 13 plays before an ill-timed false start penalty forced the Tigers to settle for the field goal.
As the clock wound down, Citrus tried to run out the clock but had to punt with 7:28 left. Riverside got the ball and drove to the Citrus 11, but then Shreve re-entered the game and promptly fumbled the snap on his first play. Maurice Dupleasis recovered for Citrus at the Owl 16 with 3:30 remaining. However, the Owls gained just 5 yards on three plays and were forced to punt again.
Then Riverside seemed to get the big play in needed when Biggers took the kick at his 32, cut across the field to the right sideline, received an absolutely pulverizing block by Randall Smith, and sped down the field. Punter Chris Laros had the only real chance to stop him at about the 15, but Biggers sidestepped him and rambled into the end zone for the go-ahead score.
Riverside was flagged for excessive celebration, but Citrus elected to have the 15 yards assessed on the kickoff. So rather than settle for a single extra point, RCC elected to try for two points. Adkins passed to a wide open Kenny Torrance to make it 18-12 with 1:53 remaining.
Kicking off from its own 20, RCC watched Holmes return the ensuing kickoff to the 31. Then the RCC defense sacked Porter twice, with Frazer Tua throwing the Owl quarterback for an 8-yard loss and Tuaau sacking him for 7 yards on second down. A 15-yard pass to Kepley recovered that lost yardage, and on 4th and 10 Porter threw the 35-yard pass to Kepley to get the Owls in position for the final desperate pass into the end zone that Jones corralled with the clock at zeroes.
For Riverside, Adkins finished 19 of 35 passing for 181 yards and the two early interceptions. E.J. Schexnayder had a huge day running the ball, carrying 25 times for 139 yards to lead all rushers. Devonn Brown had 5 catches, though the first 3 were for losses. Tuaau had 3 sacks and a fumble forced to lead the defense.
For Citrus, Porter was 19 of 38 passing for 202 yards, 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He also took quite a pounding from the RCC defense, but came up with the big plays on the game-tying drive in a courageous effort. Curiel had 4 catches for 54 yards before leaving with a hand injury, and Kepley had 3 catches for 53 yards. Dupleasis, Newton and Duffy-Huerta were all visible standouts on defense, combining for 3 sacks and 3 turnovers.
The win keeps Riverside tied in the loss column atop the rugged National-Central with 5-time defending Southern California regional champion Mt. San Antonio. The Tigers, who handed the Mounties their only regular-season loss of the last two-plus seasons, play at Mt. SAC at 6 pm on November 10th in a widely-anticipated showdown and of course JCFootball.com will be on hand!
Riverside Tigers 21, Citrus Owls 18 (Overtime)
Saturday, October 20, 2012 - 1 pm - Citrus College Stadium, Glendora
National Division - Central Conference
C - Curiel 35 yd pass from Porter (kick wide left) 14:04 (0-6)
C - D.Holmes 15 yd pass from Porter (pass failed) 5:28 (0-12)
R - Coleman 15 yd interception return (Rausa kick) 11:34 (7-12)
R - FG Rausa 22 yds 9:16 (10-12)
R - Biggers 68 yd punt return (Torrance pass from Adkins) 1:53 (18-12)
C - Jones 18 yd pass from Porter (kick wide left) 0:00 (18-18)
R - FG Rausa 40 yds (21-18)
First Downs: Citrus 13 (4 rush, 7 pass, 2 penalty), Riverside 21 (13 rush, 7 pass, 1 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Citrus 31-26, Riverside 48-202
Passing Yds: Citrus 202, Riverside 181
Comp-Att-Int: Citrus 19-40-4, Riverside 19-35-2
Return Yds: Citrus 57, Riverside 144
Sacks-Yds: Citrus 3-17, Riverside 6-46
Fumbles-Lost: Citrus 1-0, Riverside 3-3
Penalties-Yds: Citrus 9-85, Riverside 15-140
Time of Possession: Citrus 27:08, Riverside 32:52
Rushing: C 20-A.Holmes 14-34, 32-Sainz 3-15, 15-D.Holmes 2-2, 10-Porter 9-(-4), 7-D.Hernandez 3-(-21); R 8-Schexnayder 25-139, 13-Shreve 7-25, 27-Austin 4-21, 3-Adkins 12-17
Passing: C 10-Porter 19-38-4-202, 3 TDs; 7-D.Hernandez 0-1-0-0; team 0-1-0-0; R 3-Adkins 19-35-2-181
Receiving: C 5-Curiel 4-54, 17-Kepley 3-53, 15-D.Holmes 3-33, 3-Ball 3-2, 32-Sainz 2-23, 13-Jones 1-18, 20-A.Holmes 1-10, 18-Calles 1-9, 85-Williams 1-0; R 7-Brown 5-15, 85-Tabron 4-29, 18-Thompson 2-36, 11-Redman 2-34, 10-Torrance 2-32, 6-Simpson 2-23, 12-Hunter 1-9, 8-Schexnayder 1-3
Sacks-Yds: F 50-Dupleasis 1-7, 46-Duffy-Huerta 1-6, 54-Newton 1-4; R 91-Tuaau 3-24, 59-Fanene 1-10, 94-Taua 1-8, 56-Colbert 1-4
Interceptions-Ret Yds: C 46-Duffy-Huerta 1-6, 47-Pruitt 1-4; R 4-Coleman 1-15, 1-Gonzalez 1-0, 16-Hall 1-0, 56-Colbert 1-0
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: C 2-Mathews 1-0, 46-Duffy-Huerta 1-0, 50-Dupleasis 1-0; R none
Punters: C 87-Laros 8-39.6 avg, 41-Kegans 1-53; R 19-Guzman 4-38.0 avg, 3-Adkins 2-45.0 avg
Kick Returns: C 15-D.Holmes 2-44; R 18-Thompson 2-30, 82-Long 1-10
Punt Returns: C 5-Curiel 2-3; R 17-Biggers 4-89
Missed FG: C 17-Kepley 39 yds (wide left), 43 yds (low, partially blocked); R 80-Rausa 39 yds (wide right)
Notes: Riverside improves to 7-1 overall, 4-0 in National-Central and has won 7 straight; RCC entered ranked #3 in South and #7 in the nation. Citrus falls to 5-2 overall and 1-2 in conference and entered ranked #4 in South. Adkins entered the game with 24 TD passes and 1 interception on the season. Newton deflected Adkins' 1st pass of the day and Duffy-Huerta made the interception; Curiel's TD came three plays later. Holmes' TD came after Pruitt's interception. The 2-pt conversion failed when Porter completed a pass to Curiel but he was tackled just short of the goal line. Jones corralled a tipped ball in the end zone for the tying TD but a celebration penalty pushed the XPA back and Kepley's kick was wide. In OT Citrus went first and lost 4 yards in three plays, and 23-Erving partially blocked Kepley's FGA. Then Riverside gained 2 yards in 2 plays before Rausa kicked the winning FG on 3rd down.