Riverside Edges Pasadena In Defensive Battle

Kareem Woods returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and the Riverside defense made it stand up in the Tigers' 10-7 win over host Pasadena November 6th at Robinson Stadium. The RCC defense's goal-line stand near the end of the second quarter, when they stopped the Lancers 3 times at the 1-yard line at the end of a 20-play drive, protected a lead the Tigers would hold throughout a scoreless second half.

It was a game of defense and ball control as each team had several long drives but few points.  Pasadena's offense had the ball 10 times on the afternoon, including possessions at the end of each half that totaled 8.6 seconds.  Riverside's offense had the ball just 8 times, and their only touchdown came on the Woods kickoff return.  But both teams held the ball for several minutes on multiple drives, including the amazing 20-play drive for Pasadena that ended without the Lancers getting any points.

Riverside scored the game's first points on a 29-yard field goal by Raul Torres midway through the first quarter.  After a Pasadena punt, the Tigers took over at their 24.  The drive was helped by a pair of PCC penalties:  a pass interference early on, and a late hit penalty after a 16-yard pass from Anthony Andre to Marcus Carter.  After a 12-yard pass to Woods, RCC had first and goal at the 9.  But R.J. McNeill threw RCC's Keith Bizzle for a 2-yard loss on first down, and Torrey Wells sacked Andre on third down, so on came Torres for the field goal attempt.  His line-drive kick barely cleared the crossbar, but it went through the uprights to put Riverside ahead, 3-0.

Neither team scored again until Pasadena put together a 10-play, 69-yard drive and took the lead early in the second quarter.  PCC had nearly scored a touchdown when Alex Mercier received D'Javan Conway's punt and ran it back 58 yards for a score only to see a blocking penalty on the return shorten the play.  But the Lancers would score on this possession anyway.  A 23-yard pass from Shane Jackson to Kris Riggins got the ball to the Tiger 16, and on the next play Ron Williams powered through the right side of the line and into the end zone for a 16-yard TD run.  Angel Reyes' extra point put Pasadena ahead by 4 at 7-3.

That lead, however, lasted just 16 seconds.  On the ensuing kickoff, Woods picked up the ball on a bounce at his own 5-yard line.  As he grabbed the ball, he looked left but cut back to his right and found plenty of blockers clearing his path.  Up the sideline he went, and when he crossed the goal line RCC had the lead once again.  Torres' extra point try hit the left upright, but when Pasadena was flagged for being offsides, he got another chance.  This time his kick was true, and the point was good.  It would prove to be the last point of the game.

When Pasadena got the ball back, they went on the drive that would be the key moment of the game.  Relying on the running of Williams and Brian Baylor and the short passing of Jackson, the Lancers drove deep into Riverside territory.  Jackson hit Mercier with a short pass that gave PCC a first-and-goal at the RCC 2-yard line.  But then the Tiger defense dug in, stopping Baylor for a 1-yard gain.  On third down, a Jackson pass fell incomplete.  And on fourth down, Jackson tried a quarterback sneak but once again the Riverside defense held its ground.  That gave the ball back to the Tiger offense, which hadn't touched the ball in more than a quarter since Woods' kickoff return had come between Pasadena's TD drive and this 20-play drive that took 10:37 off the clock.  For the first half, Pasadena held the ball 20:51 of the 30 minutes on offense.

Neither team would score again.  Riverside lost the ball at the Pasadena 10-yard line on a fumble in the third quarter, and Riverside kicker Luis Medina missed a 38-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, so their lead remained a mere 3 points.  But the Tiger defense kept the Lancers bottled up in their own end for most of the second half.  One Pasadena drive reached the Riverside 46 before a punt, but otherwise whenever Pasadena had the ball the game was played in Lancer territory entering the final minutes of the game.

Pasadena had one last chance to tie or take the lead when the Lancers received a Riverside punt at the 21.  Their potential comeback nearly ended on the very next play when Riverside's Andre Saulsberry intercepted a Jackson pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown, but the play was negated by a roughing the passer penalty, keeping Pasadena's comeback alive for the moment. 

After a 9-yard pass by Jackson to Riggins, the Lancers got a first down via a pass interference penalty which moved the ball to the RCC 46-yard line.  But then things went wrong for Pasadena as they were assessed a holding penalty.  Then Williams bobbled a pitchout, and while he recovered the ball, the play went for a 10-yard loss.  And on second down, Jackson was sacked by RCC's Randall Smith for a 4-yard loss, setting up 3rd and 34.  Just when the situation looked desperate, Jackson threw a 30-yard pass to Fred MacNeill to give Pasadena a reasonable chance to continue the drive.  But on 4th down, Riverside put a lot of pressure on Jackson and his pass fell incomplete, giving RCC the ball with 2:21 to play.

Riverside tried to run out the clock, and a 3-yard run by Bizzle got the Tigers a first down and allowed them to chew up nearly the rest of the time left.  But they were forced to punt with just a few seconds left, and Pasadena got a break when Conway's punt went just 18 yards.  However, just 3.1 seconds remained on the clock – time enough for just one play.  Jackson threw the ball to about the Riverside 20-yard line, but RCC's Marcus Jackson knocked the ball down as the siren sounded, ending the game and giving Riverside the win.

For RCC, Bizzle had a strong game with 101 yards rushing on 24 carries.  Andre completed 8 of 15 passes for 96 yards but had no interceptions.  DE Renell Robinson had 2 sacks to lead a strong Tiger defense.  And of course Woods had the game's big play with the 95-yard kickoff return.

Williams led Pasadena with 79 yards on 16 carries and scored the Lancers' only touchdown.  Jackson finished 14 of 23 for 129 yards on the day.  Riggins led all receivers with 7 catches for 64 yards.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter:
R – FG Torres 29 yds 7:01 -- 3-0

2nd Quarter:
P – Williams 16 yd run (Reyes kick) 12:03 -- 3-7
R – Woods 95 yd kickoff return (Torres kick) 11:47 -- 10-7

3rd Quarter:
No Scoring 

4th Quarter:
No Scoring 

Team Statistics: Pasadena Riverside
First Downs 18 (9 run; 7 pass; 2 penalty) 14 (7 run; 5 pass; 2 penalty)
Rushes – Yards 34-97 39-111
Passing Yards 161 96
Comp - Att – Int 18-29-0 8-15-0
Return Yards 53 113
Sacks – Yards 3-15 4-24
Fumbles – Lost 4-0 2-1
Penalties – Yards 11-86 9-79
Time of Possession 34:29 25:31

Individual Statistics:

Rushing: P:  22-Williams 16-79, 20-Baylor 4-20, 33-Tresvant 6-19, 14-Young 1-(-5), 5-Jackson 7-(-16) R:  24-Bizzle 24-101, 85-Karady 5-19, 28-McCorvey 2-3, 17-Andre 7-(-9), team 1-(-3)

Passing: P:  5-Jackson 14-23-0-129, 14-Young 4-6-0-32 R:  17-Andre 8-15-0-96

Receiving: P:  21-Riggins 7-64, 22-Williams 4-23, 89-F.McNeill 3-48, 6-Mercier 3-22, 33-Tresvant 1-4 R:  24-Bizzle 2-35, 6-Woods 2-18, 12-Carter 1-16, 15-Tolliver 1-11, 85-Karady 1-9, 9-Daniels 1-7

Int-Ret Yds: None

Fum Rec: P:  99-Muwwakkil

Sacks-Yds: P:  97-Turner 1-6, 50-Walton 1-5, 42-Wells 1-4 R:  91-Robinson 2-12, 33-Neal 1-8, 18-R.Smith 1-4 

Punters: P:  1-Weigand 5-38.0 avg    R:  16-Conway 4-33.3 avg

Kick Ret: P:  33-Tresvant 2-27, 20-Baylor 1-17 R:  6-Woods 2-113

Punt Ret: P:  6-Mercier 3-9 R:  41-Anderson 2-0

Missed FG: P:  none R:  69-Medina 38 yds (wide left)

Notes:  Both teams entered 3-5, 1-2 in Mission-National Division. Jackson started at QB for PCC; Young entered late in the 3rd quarter before Jackson re-entered for PCC's last 2 drives.  Mercier had a TD on his first punt return (late in 1st quarter) before it was shortened by a penalty.  32-Saulsberry had an interception and TD return with 5:49 left before a roughing the passer penalty negated the whole play.  PCC had a 20-play drive that chewed up 10:37 but it ended without points when the RCC defense stopped the Lancers 3 times at the 1 just before halftime.  Torres' 1st try at the XPA hit the left upright but an offsides penalty gave him another chance and he made it the second time.


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