Alo threw touchdown passes of 23 and 8 yards to Derrick Macon and a 60-yard bomb to Treydonte Hill to stake Mt. San Antonio (10-2) to a 21-0 third-quarter lead. Riverside (10-2) rallied to score a pair of touchdowns to get within seven points with 9:25 left. But then Omaris Tolbert broke free for a 70-yard touchdown run to keep Mt. SAC in control of the game and Riverside's 30-game home winning streak that dated back to before Tom Craft became the Tiger head coach in 2010.
Alo was efficient, completing 16 of 26 passes while not committing a turnover, and Tolbert amassed 173 yards rushing. But the real story was the magnificent performance by the Mt. SAC defense, led by the twin freshman linebackers from Fiji via Palo Alto HS in the Bay Area. Each of them totaled 12 tackles, tying for game-high; Sitiveni had 2.5 quarterback sacks while Suliasi had 2 sacks. Overall Mt. SAC had 6 quarterback sacks and, aside from the two scoring drives, never let Riverside past the 48 yard-line.
Riverside was forced to punt the first 10 times it had the ball, not counting a 44-second possession that ended the first half. RCC coach Tom Craft tried several things to shake the Tigers out of their doldrums. First he had runners Christopher Anderson and Tremel Davis in motion from the wideout spots before receiving the handoff; that strategy netted 3 yards in two plays and resulted in punt #10. Then he inserted backup quarterback Kelly Hilinski, who completed his first pass to receiver Durran Burton for 4 yards but completed his second pass to Mt. SAC's Tyquwan Glass for the game's only turnover.
Finally, starting quarterback Nicholas King re-entered the game and the Tigers went to a hurry-up offense, and that seemed to turn things in favor of the home team. King capped an 8-play, 86-yard drive - that took just 1:17 - with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Jermel Walker. Then after a Mt. SAC punt, King led another scoring drive and threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Whitney to make it 21-14 with 9:25 left.
But on the very next play from scrimmage, Tolbert broke free for a 70-yard scoring run, pushing Mt. SAC's lead back to 28-14. Then RCC drove just across midfield, but faced a 4th down from the Mt. SAC 48. Sitiveni Tamaivena ended the Tigers' last realistic chance with a sack of King for a 7-yard loss. The Mounties then scored one last touchdown to end any doubt as to the game's outcome.
The first half was dominated by the defenses for both teams, but particularly the Mt. SAC defense. Riverside punted after all 8 of its first-half possessions, gaining just 3 first downs in the process. Mt. SAC also punted its first 5 times before finally getting on the board with Macon's first touchdown catch with 9:13 left in the second quarter. Then Hill made it 14-0 with his 60-yard catch in the final minute before halftime.
The win advances Mt. San Antonio to the state championship game December 13th against City College of San Francisco. It will be the final game at Hilmer Lodge Stadium before a massive renovation project that will take two years and $62 million. It is Mt. SAC's 7th appearance in the state championship since the title game was introduced in 1997, and the 6th in the past 9 years. Mt. SAC has won 3 state championships in that time.
Their opponent, City College of San Francisco, will play in its 14th state championship game in the 18-year modern history of the game. CCSF lost to Mt. SAC in the in 1997 edition that brought back the championship game, and again in 2010 in a game at Hilmer Lodge Stadium. But CCSF beat Mt. SAC in 2007 and 2011 for two of its 7 state championships since 1994.
Mt. San Antonio Mounties 35
Riverside Tigers 14
Saturday, November 29, 2014 - 6 pm - Wheelock Stadium, Riverside
Southern California Championship Game
1st Quarter: No Scoring
M - Macon 23 yd pass from Alo (Villarreal kick) 9:13 (7-0)
M - Hill 60 yd pass from Alo (Villarreal kick) 0:44 (14-0)
M - Macon 8 yd pass from Alo (Villarreal kick) 5:34 (21-0)
R - Walker 34 yd pass from King (Camacho kick) 0:57 (21-7)
R - Whitney 9 yd pass from King (Camacho kick) 9:25 (21-14)
M - Tolbert 70 yd run (Villarreal kick) 9:06 (28-14)
M - Wilson 14 yd run (Villarreal kick) 3:46 (35-14)
First Downs: Riverside 20 (9 rush, 7 pass, 4 penalty), Mt. SAC 21 (10 rush, 11 pass)
Rushes-Yds: Riverside 44-112, Mt. SAC 46-249
Passing Yds: Riverside 176, Mt. SAC 263
Comp-Att-Int: Riverside 13-28-1, Mt. SAC 16-26-0
Return Yds: Riverside 86, Mt. SAC 33
Sacks-Yds: Riverside 2-7, Mt. SAC 6-45
Fumbles-Lost: Riverside 2-0, Mt. SAC 2-0
Penalties-Yds: Riverside 8-49, Mt. SAC 14-88
Time of Possession: Riverside 31:04, Mt. SAC 28:56
Rushing: R 4-Foster 16-97, 25-Anderson 6-14, 17-King 16-9, 34-Norman 3-4, 26-Howard 1-(-1), 35-Davis 1-(-1), team 1-(-10); M 28-Tolbert 26-173, 5-Alo 12-39, 22-Vaughns 4-24, 48-Wilson 2-16, 4-Simpson 1-(-2), team 1-(-1)
Passing: R 17-King 12-26-0-172, 2 TDs; 11-Hilinski 1-2-1-4; M 5-Alo 16-26-0-263, 3 TDs
Receiving: R 8-Whitney 3-31, 23-Stallone 2-25, 4-Foster 2-20, 87-Pomee 2-2, 18-Geater 1-41, 3-Walker 1-34, 10-Morin 1-19, 88-Burton 1-4; M 83-Hill 3-91, 1-Macon 3-54, 6-Gilchrist 2-51, 18-Short 2-20, 11-Anderson 2-11, 4-Simpson 1-24, 22-Vaughns 1-9, 48-Wilson 1-2, 28-Tolbert 1-1
Interceptions-Ret Yds: R none; M 2-Glass 1-0
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: none
Sacks: R 15-Solomon, 42-Carmen; M 43-Si.Tamaivena 2½, 42-Su.Tamaivena 2, 60-Kohitolu, 33-Steward ½
Punters: R 80-Zamora 10-43.4 avg; M 61-Fulham 9-37.9 avg
Kick Returns: R 1-Marenco 2-45, 35-Davis 2-37; M 22-Vaughns 1-30
Punt Returns: R 35-Davis 1-4; M 22-Vaughns 1-3
Missed FG: R none; M 78-Villarreal 46 yds (wide right)
Notes: Riverside ent. 10-1 and the #1 seed while Mt. SAC was 9-2 and the #3 seed in SoCal playoffs. MVP: Justin Alo, Mt. SAC. Players of the Game: 43-Sitiveni Tamaivena (Mt. SAC) and 5-Jonah Moi (LB, RCC). Riverside punted the 1st 10 times it had the ball and the teams combined for 15 punts in the 1st half. The Tamaivena twins combined for 24 tackles (12 each). This breaks a 30-game home winning streak for RCC.