New year. New uniforms. Same mentality.
While color schemes and gear may change year to year, the mantra of RCC football never waivers. It never has since the arrival of Head Coach Tom Craft as he enters into his eighth season at the helm of RCC football. With a mix of familiar faces and brand new blood, the Tigers look to lay it all out on the line in hopes of obtaining their sixth-straight conference crown.
The Tigers, along with the rest of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA), will be a member of a new league following a statewide restructure. They will join the National Southern League that is comprised of Saddleback, Southwestern, Grossmont, Orange Coast, and Golden West.
Prior to conference play, the Tigers must zero in on five non-conference games in September that is jam packed with top-20 talent. They must face off against stern competition that includes No. 16 El Camino, defending state champion No. 1 Fullerton, San Bernardino, No. 11 Long Beach and No. 22 San Diego Mesa, respectfully.
The Tigers saw 20 student-athletes transfer to top four-year universities scattered across America following the 2017 campaign. That number continues to grow. With that being said, there are only a few familiar faces that will grace the gridiron for a second season in the orange and black.
The most headline-worthy story involves the 2017 CCCAA Offensive Player of the Year, Vic Viramontes. After committing to the University of Minnesota as a quarterback following a record-setting season in all major categories, he is back and looking to shock the community college football world once again. How, one might ask? The answer may shock you.
Viramontes will make the transition from offense to defense this season and lead the linebacker core. The 6-3, 230-pound athlete will go from lowering his should and dropping dimes on offense to clogging gaps on defense.
Sophomore defensive back Eric Wilson returns to helm the secondary after experiencing a strong 2017 season highlighted by an All-Southern California Football Association (SCFA) Central Second-Team nomination. He ranked second on the team in total tackles with 47. He also paced the squad in pass breakups with eight and was tied for first with two interceptions. Sophomore linebacking tandem Mitchell Agude and Devyn Charles will continue strengthening the defensive after combining for 58 tackles last season.
While there will be a surplus of fresh talent on the offensive front, there will be a sense of calm in the kicking game. Sophomore kicker and punter John Garibay returns after hauling in SCFA Central First-Team All-Conference accolades. He booted home 6-of-8 field goals last season with a season-long 46-yarder coming in the season opener. He also knocked in 60 extra points. Sophomore tailback Malik Walker acts as the lone returner in the backfield following a season where he carted the ball 65 times for a total of 404 yards and two touchdowns. Leading the offensive line is sophomore John Krahn who played in seven games last year.
A quarterback battle is brewing amongst a trio of talented arms with the absence of Viramontes under center. Sophomore Stone Smartt, freshman Josh Owens, and freshman Garrett Kettle are currently battling for the starting spot.