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Football: No. 1 Long Beach suffers first loss, falls 34-14 at Riverside

Freshman Ikenna Ohaeri had an 84-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter of the Vikings' loss at Riverside. (Photo by John Fajardo)
Freshman Ikenna Ohaeri had an 84-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter of the Vikings' loss at Riverside. (Photo by John Fajardo)

Thoughts of an undefeated season came to a crashing end as the No. 1 nationally and state-ranked Long Beach City College Vikings were dealt their first loss of the season, a 34-14 defeat at Riverside City College on Saturday.

The loss dropped Long Beach to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in National Central League play. It also snapped the Vikings' 10-game winning streak that dated back to last season. LBCC will look to bounce back next Saturday (Nov. 7) at home when the Vikings host Citrus College at 6 p.m.

Just like in last year's 27-21 loss to the Tigers in Long Beach, turnovers once again doomed the Vikings. A pair of Long Beach interceptions and a fumble resulted in 21 Riverside points.

LBCC couldn't get its offense going early in the game while the Tigers built an early lead that the Vikings couldn't overcome. RCC got a 39-yard field goal from Julian Castro at the 1:57 mark in the first quarter while a 13-yard TD pass from Riverside's Ian Fiebler to KJ Young gave the Tigers a 10-0 advantage with 8:40 to play in the second.

RCC made it 17-0 three plays following Tareke Lewis' interception of Long Beach quarterback Jack Lowary (Mater Dei HS). Fiebler hit Dominique Maiden for a 19-yard touchdown with 3:35 left in the half to really put the pressure on the Vikings.

But the Long Beach offense finally came alive late in the second. Sophomore Darren Johnson's (Cabrillo HS) 10-yard touchdown run capped an eight-play, 70-yard drive for the Vikings to sent Long Beach into halftime trailing 17-7.

RCC capitalized on another Long Beach turnover on the Viking's opening drive of the second half. After a catch, freshman Mike Wilson (Washington Prep HS) fumbled the ball back to the Tigers deep in LBCC territory.  Four plays later, Fielbler tossed an 18-yard TD to Young to extend the RCC lead to 24-7 at the 13:11 mark.

Long Beach got that seven points back when Lowary connected with freshman Ikenna Ohaeri (Narbonne HS)  for the Vikings' biggest play of the night. Ohaeri hauled in an 84-yard touchdown reception with 11:03 to go in the third to cut the Riverside lead to 10 points at 24-14.

LBCC appeared to have momentum back on its side as the Vikings were driving on their next possession near the RCC red zone. But a 12-play drive came to a halt after Lowary's second interception was returned 42 yards by Ronald Robinson back to the Long Beach 37-yard line. On the next play, Fiebler hit Young with a 37-yard touchdown reception to put the game out of reach for the Vikings.

The Vikings' offense totaled just 288 yards on the night. Lowary completed 21 of 38 passes for 243 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Wilson caught a team-high seven passes for 73 yards while Johnson ran 16 times for 54 yards and a TD.

On defense sophomore Keanu Hill (Serra HS) led Long Beach with 10 tackles (9 solo) while sophomore Mat Boesen (West Torrance HS/Boise State) had eight tackles (5 solo).