Howard threw two incomplete passes at the end of Riverside's first drive of the night, which ended with 9:47 left in the first quarter and resulted in a Tiger punt. But he connected on all 15 passes he threw after that, including a 15-yard touchdown toss to Kenny Torrence with 4:56 left that broke a 17-all tie and came moments after Taylor intercepted a pass from Golden West quarterback Chris d'Entremont and returned it to the Rustler 10 yard-line.
It was an extremely physical battle that saw each team lose several players to injury and have others helped from the field to return, and came down to the game's final 5 minutes. The key sequence began when Riverside (10-1) managed to down an Anthony Johnston punt at the Golden West 4. Three plays later, d'Entremont threw a pass over the middle that Taylor intercepted, setting up the winning score.
Golden West (9-2) still had plenty of time to answer, but was only able to gain 1 yard in three plays and had to punt. Then Riverside drove to the Golden West 10 yard-line, and Mike Canahai booted a 29-yard field goal with 1:41 left to make it 27-17 and clinch the win for the Tigers.
Until that, the game was played on basically even terms. Riverside scored the game' first touchdown late in the first quarter on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Howard to Anthony Knight that capped a 7-play drive. Golden West tied the score midway through the second quarter when d'Entremont threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Sanchez.
Golden West got a field goal from Peter Marquez early in the third quarter to take a 10-7 lead. That sequence actually began after the final play of the first half when Riverside was assessed a personal foul penalty. As a result, the Tigers kicked off from the 20 to start the second half, and Kyrel Brown returned the short kick to the Riverside 42, leading to the field goal.
Riverside answered quickly, however, going ahead when Howard threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Torrence to cap a 6-play drive midway through the third quarter. And the Tigers received a bit of good fortune when game officials lost track of the down - there was a play negated by a penalty, the third quarter ended and the chain gang put the sticks on the wrong yard-line to start the fourth quarter, and in the confusion Riverside was awarded an extra down. On what was actually 5th down, Canahai kicked a 31-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 17-10 lead with 13:32 left.
But Golden West overcame all that to tie the score midway through the fourth quarter. D'Entremont, who briefly left the game in the second quarter with an apparent knee injury, but returned to start the third quarter, threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Brown to tie the score with 7:01 left. And the Rustlers got the ball back 1:36 later when the defense forced a Riverside punt. However, that punt went to the 4 yard-line, and ended up leading to Taylor's interception.
For Riverside, Howard was named Most Valuable Player for his 17-for-19 performance passing, including completing his last 15 passes, for 196 yards, no interceptions and 3 touchdowns. Torrence had 5 catches for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns and was named Riverside Player of the Game. Knight rushed 19 times for a game-high 83 yards, and also caught 6 passes for 47 yards. Defensive lineman John Taylor led the defense, registering 2 of the Tigers' 7 quarterback sacks, and of course Darique Taylor had the key interception. Canahai, substituting for injured Luke Voss, connected on both of his field goal tries and made all 3 extra point attempts.
For Golden West, d'Entremont was 27 for 46 passing for 281 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception in a courageous performance battling the injury. He rushed 16 times for 27 yards (9 carries for 61 yards if sacks are subtracted out) despite appearing noticeably hobbled after the injury. Kyrel Brown led all receivers with 8 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. Dylan Hall had 7 catches for 76 yards.
With the win, Riverside earns a berth in the Southern California championship game next Saturday against Fullerton at Yorba Linda HS. These teams met in October, with Fullerton pulling out a 38-36 win after a touchdown with 26 seconds remaining. Kickoff is 1 pm and JCFootball.com will be there.
Riverside Tigers 27, Golden West Rustlers 17
Saturday, November 23, 2013 - 6 pm - Wheelock Stadium, Riverside
Southern California Bowl - Southern California Semifinal #2
R - Knight 13 yd pass from Howard (Canahai kick) 1:56 (7-0)
GW - Sanchez 13 yd pass from d'Entremont (Marquez kick) 7:58 (7-7)
GW - FG Marquez 31 yds 9:04 (7-10)
R - Torrence 25 yd pass from Howard (Canahai kick) 6:44 (14-10)
R - FG Canahai 31 yds 13:32 (17-10)
GW - K.Brown 27 yd pass from d'Entremont (Marquez kick) 7:01 (17-17)
R - Torrence 15 yd pass from Howard (Canahai kick) 4:56 (24-17)
R - FG Canahai 29 yds 1:41 (27-17)
First Downs: Riverside 16 (6 rush, 9 pass, 1 penalty), Golden West 20 (5 rush, 15 pass)
Rushes-Yds: Riverside 42-151, Golden West 32-50
Passing Yds: Riverside 196, Golden West 281
Comp-Att-Int: Riverside 17-19-0, Golden West 27-47-1
Return Yds: Riverside 92, Golden West 69
Sacks-Yds: Riverside 7-49, Golden West 1-3
Fumbles-Lost: Riverside 2-1, Golden West 4-1
Penalties-Yds: Riverside 8-75, Golden West 6-40
Time of Possession: Riverside 27:27, Golden West 32:33
Rushing: R 28-Knight 19-83, 29-Yarbrough 12-46, 6-Howard 11-22; GW 2-d'Entremont 16-27, 32-Cruz 6-19, 21-A.Brown 2-7, 7-Hays 1-2, 1-Salazar 1-2, 23-Hunley 3-2, 20-Ferraro 1-1, team 2-(-10)
Passing: R 6-Howard 17-19-0-196, 3 TDs; GW 2-d'Entremont 26-46-1-281, 2 TDs; 1-Salazar 0-1-0-0
Receiving: R 28-Knight 6-47, 10-Torrence 5-97, 13-Shreve 4-40, 9-Moore 1-7, 18-Thompson 1-5; GW 11-K.Brown 8-111, 83-Hall 7-76, 82-Pastell 3-23, 12-Little 3-21, 19-Sanchez 2-27, 21-A.Brown 2-4, 20-Ferraro 1-20, 32-Cruz 1-(-1)
Interceptions-Ret Yds: R 4-Taylor 1-14; GW none
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: R 98-Fa'imalo 1-0; GW 37-Haley 1-0
Sacks-Yds: R 92-Taylor 2-16, 99-Mitchell 1-14, 56-Colbert 1-11, 43-Moi 1-4, 93-Zuniga 1-3, 95-Wilson 1-1; GW 99-Steele 1-3
Punters: R 16-Johnston 5-37.2 avg; GW 47-Beighton 4-36.3 avg
Kick Returns: R 10-Torrence 2-34, 18-Thompson 1-25, 17-Biggers 1-11; GW 11-K.Brown 4-71
Punt Returns: R 17-Biggers 3-8; GW team 1-(-2)
Game Notes : MVP: Skylar Howard, Riverside. RCC Player of the Game: Kenny Torrence. GW Player of the Game: LB Anthony McNichols. Riverside entered as the #2 seed, ranked #5 in the nation and improves to 10-1; Golden West was the #3 seed, ranked #15 in the nation and finishes 9-2. Howard threw 2 incomplete passes at the end of RCC's 1st drive that ended with 9:47 left in the 1st quarter; he completed all 15 of his pass attempts after that. Game officials appeared to get confused over the 3rd/4th quarters and there was a penalty on 2nd down, but the RCC FG came on 5th down. Taylor returned his interception to the GW 10 with 5:02 left and that set up the winning TD.