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Riverside Ground Game Too Much for Warriors in Season Opener

Riverside Ground Game Too Much for Warriors in Season Opener

TORRANCE, Calif. – El Camino College surrendered nearly 300 yards of rushing offense to visiting Riverside and it was too much to overcome in a 34-7 opening day loss to the Tigers Saturday afternoon at Murdock Stadium.

The Tigers (1-0) finished with 295 yards rushing on the day, led by running back Malik Walker's 127 yards on 20 carries. Quarterback Stone Smartt added 114 yards on 17 carries while the Warriors (0-1) finished the day with 150 yards on the ground. Raymond Graham led the team with 76 yards on just 13 carries while Shawn Prejean added 44 yards on five carries with one touchdown.

The Warriors had issues with the ground game from the opening drive as the Tigers drove it 75 yards on three rushing plays, capped off by Walker's 25-yard scoring scamper to make it 6-0.

After stalling on their first drive, the Warriors pinned the Tigers deep in their own territory on an excellent punt from Quinn Perry, forcing the Tigers to start at the one yard line.

But Riverside got a would rush for 70 yards in the drive, capping it with a six-yard touchdown strike from Smartt to Tyrone Marshall.

The Warriors defense would bear down for the rest of the half though, keeping the Tigers off the board until halftime and giving the offense a chance to chip into the lead. The offense would have the ball deep in Riverside territory on three straight drives in the second quarter.

The first ended on downs as quarterback Aaron Thomas was sacked on 4th-and-9 at the Riverside 28-yard line.

The special teams would come through though and block a punt on the Tigers next drive, giving the Warriors the ball on the Riverside 19. The Warriors advanced to the 12-yard line but a sack and an incomplete pass resulted in another turnover on downs.

On its last drive of the half, ECC advanced to the Riverside 23 and attempted a 40-yard field goal, but Chris Valle's attempt went wide left and the team went into the locker room trailing 13-0.

The Tigers would add a touchdown in the third to extend the lead and scored again in the fourth to make it 27-0 before Shawn Prejean finally put ECC on the board with a 9-yard touchdown run with 11:05 left in the game.

But it was too late as the Tigers put together a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive on their next possession to shut the door on the game.

The Warriors will return to action next week as they head to Bakersfield for another non-conference contest and first road test of the year. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.