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No. 11 LBCC Football Downs Top-Ranked Tigers in Conference Clash

Freshman quarterback Jake Maier threw for 387 yards and two touchdowns in LBCC's 38-31 overtime win against Riverside. (Photo by Jocelyn Gonzalez)
Freshman quarterback Jake Maier threw for 387 yards and two touchdowns in LBCC's 38-31 overtime win against Riverside. (Photo by Jocelyn Gonzalez)

The No. 11 Long Beach City College football squad hosted the top-ranked Riverside City College Tigers on Saturday night in Veterans Memorial Stadium in a game that featured major playoff and bowl game implications. In a game that displayed a solid defensive effort in the opening quarter and promptly exploded with hefty offensive, the Vikings used a final fourth-quarter drive to force overtime and take home the win in the final frame by the final score of 38-31.

The Vikings etched the first points on the board, compliments of freshman kicker Sergio Garcia booting through a 36-yard field goal with ease to hand them the 3-0 advantage.

After Riverside countered with a field goal of their own to end the first quarter, the Vikings charged back for another score early in the second quarter as freshman quarterback Jake Maier linked up with sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Smith for a 19-yard touchdown to cap off a six play, 58-yard drive to grab the lead back at 10-3.

The Tigers followed by benefitting from two Long Beach penalties that set up good field position for Riverside as they promptly score to knot the game up at 10-10.

However, the Viking took the lead entering into halftime when Maier found a reliable source in sophomore wide receiver Jacob Welch who hauled in an eight-yard snag for six to take a 17-10 advantage into the locker room.

LBCC continued to roll on offense coming out of the second half by scoring on a nine play, 69 yard drive that ended with sophomore wide receiver Jaylen Watson calling home for six points off a 28-yard pass from Maier, thus grabbing a sizable 24-10 advantage.

Unfortunately, the Tigers recovered an unconventional onside kick and turned it into a score at the conclusion of the third period. They continued to score two more times in the fourth quarter to grab the lead at 31-24 to put pressure on the Vikings to respond.

With the game on the line, Maier captained the offense efficiently and effectively in attempts to land in the end zone.

Maier took control of the drive starting by completing two passes and scrambling for nine yards to earn the first down. Sophomore wide receiver Jaylen Watson and Welch followed with two grabs from the arm of Maier to snag them another first down and put the ball on Riverside's 24 yard line to force a timeout.

Watson and Maier linked up once again to bring the ball further into Tiger territory, following by a nice four-yard dash from sophomore running back Jason Floyd. After two incomplete passes that forced a third and 10 with minimal time remaining and no timeouts, Maier located Watson wide open in the back of the end zone for the game-tying score at 31-31 with 1:24 remaining.

After a failed fourth quarter drive attempt by Riverside that featured two big stops from freshman defensive back Guy Alford, the game shifted into overtime.

The Tigers won the coin toss and elected to play defense first, handing the first scoring opportunity to the Vikings with the ball on the Riverside 25 yard line.

It did not take very long for the Vikings to find the end zone as freshman wide receiver Jabari Minix caught a 13-yard snag from Maier to grab the lead. Garcia booted home the point-after-attempt with ease to give the Vikings a 38-31 advantage.

After the score, Riverside took over on the Viking's 25 yard line in an all-or-nothing scenario. The drive did not go well for the Vikings to start as they were flagged for a defensive pass interference, giving the Tigers great field position.

However, Riverside was penalized for a false start pushing them back to the Vikings 15 yard line. Defensive end Scotty Fao and freshman defensive lineman Adebayo Soremekun combined for two stops and the Viking's secondary forced two incomplete passes en route to a 38-31 overtime victory.

Maier led a nearly unstoppable aerial attack by going 35-for-57 through the air with 387 yard passing and five touchdowns. Welch was the main target in the attack by hauling in 12 grabs for 132 yards and a touchdown. Watson was three yards away from hitting the century mark by reeling in eight grabs for 97 yard and two touchdowns.

Floyd and sophomore running back Tyree Harris each carried the ball 12 times and combined for 56 yards on the ground.

Garcia was reliable in the kicking game by booting home a 36-yard field goal and converting all point after attempts.

The Vikings (7-2, 3-1 SCC) will hit the road for their final conference matchup on Saturday, November 12th against El Camino at 6 p.m.